The Empire Lives!-Chapter 4

in #story6 years ago (edited)

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                  CHANGE

Cockroaches scattered the royal courtyard floor, lethargic and disoriented. The dragon escaped through the hole, the monster chasing her tail. A majority of cockroaches stilled and flipped on their backs.
One cockroach stood upright amid the catastrophe.
We lost with our best effort. Adira will be disappointed I couldn't protect her mother. I wonder if she'll ever forgive me...I wonder if she'll come back for me now, no doubt she'll see the monster kill the dragon out there, she'll know I failed. I really thought I could win. I thought it was my time.
More cockroaches flipped onto their backs.
What else is there for me to do, but dream for a better reality and try to see it through? My heart says keep pushing forward, good things are to come…. Ah just some emotional high tides, no good for a smooth swim; the drowning panic attracts the sharks like blood, better to sink and be eaten dead then alive. This is the way things are supposed to be Willis, you were born to suffer and die in an endless cycle, born to be the loser required by the competition, the games. At least at one point in life, we all lose life.
Maybe I've suffered because I've been fighting with my true-essence with things I was made to think were better for me. I am the gazelle that runs that second slower from the pack to feed the weak lions. I am the important meal that keeps them going.
Only a small group of cockroaches remained crawling around; they lurched together in a dismal pack in front of the Willis.
“We want compensation for our service, for lost friends and their families, and we want out of this hopeless war effort.”
“But I ain't got no money to give you. This war is yours just as it is mine, I've lost everything. I don't know what to do.”
“We left our homes for this, what are we supposed to tell our families? That we lost and will never be the same? That our cause failed? Give us something to take back, a map or something! We don't even know the way back! Or we'll have to kill you right here.”
“You came to me, I didn't ask for you, and I ain't got nothing to give you. Aren't you all different versions of me?”
“How narcissistic can you be? Different versions of you? How about you're the worst version of us, that fits the bill better, doesn't it, Emperor?”
“Then end my misery.”
“Say no more.”
They overtook him and ripped him into little pieces. They stared at their dirty limbs, the pieces, and left through the hole unsatisfied.

The front door opened. Jimmy's head rolled. The ant crawled into the kitchen. Silhouette stretched out on the floor, lighting and thunder rumbling in the background, the figure took it's first step.
Running footsteps, and flapping wings crash around the house, hidden from view.
Who is the figure in the doorway? Another creature from the Empire? Or is it the one that controls the waters with finesse and power? Will I be restored? Jimmy tried with all his might to roll into a better view.
“There you are.” The figure said, a cold voice, hunched and face in the shadows. It picked up the clown toy head from behind the door. “We have things to do, and you're bro-wait.” It picked up the other clown toy from the floor. “The fuck?”
“Pssh.” The dying ant tugged the pants. “You will never be free, you or the clown. You can run as fast as you can, go as far as you want, to the empire slaves you are.”
Lighting flashed, half of Willis' face appeared, then shadow. “A talking ant, how stupid.” He squashed it with the bottom of his shoes.
A monster roared. Boom crash! It broke through the living room wall, eyes and fangs set on him.
“Oh no! What the fuck is that?” He spun, leaped outside slamming the door shut.
Poundings rocked the door and growls created goosebumps.
The rain soaked him and he looked at his hands. One disfigured, but intact, clown toy, and a golden head off a broken one. When did I get two Jimmy the clowns and why gold? And what kind of beast has taken over my house? Why does shit like this happen to me? I never see or hear of anyone else dealing with bullshit of this magnitude. Getting all my work clothes wet, talking ants, monsters tearing up my house, and two broken toys, and I have five minutes left in my break. Why can't I be free of all misery and trouble, of all suffering and lost?
“Because without it, you wouldn't enjoy happiness and victory, you would be indifferent to all experiences, and such a dull life isn't worth living as you already know.” The clown head said.
“You mean evil has to exist in order for things to be good? That's horrible, I knew you were a demon possessed toy. It's why I keep you around, scares the shit out of those idiots at work, now that vibe is increased. Life upsets you one way and blesses you in another, I guess, huh?”
“Subject of time, you know not what you wish for.” A black raven said. It was perched on an electric transformer on the pole by the street.
“What?”
“Time is never on your side, always gone past or too slow, never the same, and never ending.”
“You're right, I'm always running late!” Willis ran down the sidewalk, turned left across the street and three blocks later, into the Rent-A-Bot store through the backdoor.
“That raven was one of them, I know it.” Jimmy said.
“Good. You do speak, keep going these fuckers are going to freak the fuck out.” He smiled marching through the storage rows, doing his seventh daily inventory check before clocking back in.
“Ooohmygoodd I can't feel my legs!” The old clown said. “I need maximum attention and care now! I can't go on if I'm left unattended!”
“Shut up! You don't need anything! Willis rip it's head off and replace it with mine!”
Willis switched glances from both hands. “Wouldn't that be murder? Isn't it alive just like you?”
“No. It was alive, but is no more. Rip off it's head.”
“This all seems a bit too much. You're a clown toy, I'm not talking to you! I'm not crazy!” He walked through the doorway into the break room, co-workers sat around a table, eyes locked on him and lips trembling to vocal chords they could only hear.
“Uh, ta-da! I'm back, and on time!”
“What was that? You're crazy? Well, glad you can tell. How about turning it down some? We need you to make sales not make people want to drive through a red light on their way home. Tired of telling you, you need to improve your sales, you're not meeting the goals. You can't even sell ten LifePartner-Bot plans in a week. People would rather do their own research and work than listen to you ramble about your life and all you can say about that is 'The machines are taking over the our jobs and world!'? Something's gotta change Willis.” Mr. Dilwash said, pink doughnut crammed into mouth, coffee stains on the hundred dollar tie; three empty doughnut boxes stacked in a mess beside his coffee cup.
“I know, it's just that-
“I don't want to hear your ridiculous made-up excuses that don't make sense. Shut up and try to be useful or I'll have to sell you on the slave-market, get back about hmmm less than a third of what you've cost me and my store and still be a profit.”
“They must be from the empire as well! We're surrounded, that wicked ant was right.” The old clown said.
“They are not! Not everyone works for the empire, but then again, where have we gone? Into a dream? Did that wizard cast a spell on me?”
“What kind of sick trick are you playing Willis? You've upgraded your doll so that it can talk to you, are you that stupid to waste money on that? You don't deserve a paycheck, there's kids dying of starvation that would have lived had you used your money better.”
I do need that paycheck Mr. Dilwash. Why do you always assume things right out of the gate? No matter what I tell you, your mind has been made, and I'm a pieceofshit. Willis rubbed his nose. “Uh, I'll go restock the batteries, I remember seeing them being off a bit.”
The last pink doughnut bite landed on the table. “You know what? Take your dolls and go home. Come back, eh...next monday.”
“But I need my hours! I'll sell eleven LifePartner-Bots plans in the next,” He glanced at the clock. 12:17 PM. “Five hours!”
Chuckles and the pink doughnut went in. “You know, as much as I would enjoy seeing you fail, I rather not lose anymore customers today after you screwed up the only five sales you had this morning! They were all willing to buy, but you ran them off to the Transcended two miles away because they have the Dranco 4000 which can detect future threats with it's super cool hyper-fuck-doodad vision. Or how about that time when you met a real-life teleporting time-traveling shape-shifting android that was set to take over the world, but you tricked it to shape-shift teleport time-travel into a dinosaur in the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago. What the fuck is wrong with you? Don't you understand if I don't make the store some money, no one gets paid! These fucking robots don't get here for free!”
“I'll clean the toilets.”
“Already clean. Listen, go home.”
“Fuck it then, I'll go home, and I will be back next monday sharp as a tac.” He went up to them and showcased the clowns up to each face. “And so will they! Mahahaha!”
“I'll kill you all if I had my way, you fuckers.” Jimmy said, trying to bite.
“Hey! Play nice Jimmy!” Willis walked backwards, ear to ear grin, and bumped his head on the edge of the open door. “Ah!” He winced, turned, recollected himself and strutted through the doorway, and out the store he went, until the clown commanded he sneak back into the storage room.
“This is the kind of shit I was talking about, the dude is lost, he just doesn't get it.” Milly said, sunglasses and an obscure trendy hoodie. “He's so not cool, it hurts my soul. Like bad.”
“Well, he doesn't even own a vehicle or have a license, doesn't have any of the Fad-O-9's, watches the Marca-Marca show, and I've seen him spend a bit too much time assembling one of the female LifePartners, not just one time either. What do you expect?” Clorus said, a perfect smile and pretty white dress.
“Ehh, I knew those bots didn't come out the factory with lubrication in them, why don't I listen to my gut more? I feel sick.” Mr. Dilwash said, staring at his fingers, tongue out.
“I think the best thing for that man is to be placed in a mental institution immediately! As coworkers we have to protect ourselves and others from a spontaneous murder rampage from the hands of a mentally whacked-out person like Willis. He has fucking talking toys! Now I do strongly believe that his insanity is so strong, it has infected all our psyche and now we can hear the voices too. We must get rid of him as soon as possible because this is the game it is playing, you see, the beast that it is, it knows now we are under it's spell and the time to attack is now.” Frandice said, long pigtails, black turtle neck tight, green cargo pants.
“Don't be so paranoid, what's he gonna do? Throw eggs at us? He'll be here next monday, and he will sell robots and rental plans.”
“You haven't heard the news moments ago. Everyone in the Marca-Marca show studio died today. Tom and Jim got into a dispute and Tom had created bombs and killed them all. Tom even killed his family and fed them to Jim. Willis could do the same. Or worst, fail to kill us, kill himself, and leave us to live as vegetables.”
“No way. Get out of here! Tom! The short little chunky ant that looks like he's about burst out his clothes and eat somebody! I can't believe that little shithead would do such a thing.”
“That's nothing Mr. Dilwash. Last week, I seen this kid come home from school and he programmed his Family-Maido-Tornado to clean the house so much, the house ascended into the fifth dimension and the whole family was eaten by fifth dimensional beings. Damn kid was on drugs! Now how come they're not watching our kids in schools better? How they letting in all these drugs to these damn kids?” Clorus pounded the table.
“I'll tell you why. It's too much work giving every kid a bodyguard, the budget won't allow it, and the people wouldn't stand for it. How come they're not teaching these kids personal responsibility of their emotions and actions, of their overall life experience? Why depend on authority to make things better?” Mr. Dilwash paused. Wide eyes avoiding contact around the table. “Ah, right, escapism is what we want. It's what we sell here. I guess home should have taught all that personal responsibility, no?”
“Look, Mr. Dilwash, not everyone had a home or a good one. We don't need personal bodyguards, there's cameras and future threat detecting machines. We just need more and everywhere. We live in horrible times, our luxurious lives are threaten to vanish in a blink of an eye by everything we don't stand for! Willis is dangerous, and at any moment, that trap he set for you could go off. I'm not paranoid, I'm realistic. That loser is going to kill us all one by one as he recites events where we had wronged him and did not make amends with him.”
“That's a pretty theory, just grabs you, very good. People use logic logically, never irrationally, yup yup. You got it.” Mr. Dilwash stood, stretched. “I'm still hungry. How 'bout I buy lunch, burgers fries and a soft drink, hmmmm. Yeah, that sounds good. I'll be back ya'll.” He walked out the break room to the main store and out the front door.
“He's the best boss.”
“Yeah, but he's not going to stop Willis from killing us. I swear the moment I heard those things talk, I knew it was over for all of us.”
“Chill Frandice, like the boss said, 'He'll be here next monday, and he will sell robots and rental plans.' Why wouldn't he? You think he wants to kill himself or go to jail? He knows he is a fool and can never get away.”
“No, Milly I think Frandice is right about this. Every week it seems to get worse somehow, he really is weird, or maybe he's just being weird to scare us or just for a cheap laugh.”
“Oh Clorus, you'll jump on anything. No wonder your boyfriend dumped you.”

In the storage room, hidden inside opened boxes filled with bubble wrap:
“I told you they work with the empire, everyone does.” The old toy said.
“I don't know what empire you're talking about, but all these assholes can go to hell. Can you believe Tom blew up the whole studio? What a bummer, that freaking idiot.”
“Hey! Doofus! Don't talk to it, rip it's head off! We have to go see what Mr. Dilwash is up to. I saw three empty doughnut boxes on that table and I know he ate them all. He can't still be hungry. He could very well be working with those ants, there's something false about them all.”
“Working with ants? Is this why ants are talking to me? They're apart of some empire that manipulates the world?”
“Yes, you know this. No, you're-” You're dead just like that broken toy in your other hand. You haven't been taken by them and joined me in their secret city yet, you don't know. Now things have changed, I pulled that old toy down the stairs, and you came back and found us. Did you come back originally too? I guess I can't get that answer, I wasn't there.
“I'm waiting. Finish the damn sentence. Fuck, I can't believe I'm actually talking to broken clown toys like a wimp.”
“You're running out of time! Mr. Dilwash is getting away from us!”
“Fine!” Willis jumped out the box and out the backdoor.

“Don't let me get started about your issues girl, you'll be the one in the mental institution!”
“Don't talk to me then bitch! Cause I'll beat your face in.” Milly pushed her seat back as she jumped up and power-snatched the table and shook it violently, face red, canines bare.
“Put the table down, this is what it wants us to do. It wants us to fight each other so it can sneak around. I heard the backdoor open and close. I think it heard us. It knows we know.” Frandice walked up to Milly and spotted her putting the table back down, and slapped her ass. “I think we should shut the store down and lock the doors, and go somewhere unexpected.”
“But the burgers and fries, the soft drink? Mr. Dilwash will be back, what will he think? He'll think Willis came back and kidnapped us or something.”
“We'll leave a note for him, or we'll call him. We don't feel safe so we left. We can get our own burgers and fries on our way out of here Milly, c'mon!”
“What if the boss fires us for leaving? How will I pay for all my shit?”
“Our lives are in danger right now and all you can think about is your shit? C'mon Clorus, we're leaving.”
“Okay, fine! I'll go with you bitches.”
And they closed down the store, shutting off all the demo-bots, locking both front and backdoor and a note on the cash register. They left through an air-vent that exited on the left-side of store, facing the woodsy part of town.

                    TO BE CONTINUED........
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