“We’re going to Hell.”
Monday night, 4 April 2016, PM
GM: It’s not long after Sylvia’s settled down to bed with Anna that Victoria gets a call.
It’s Jordan. He really wants a session, and soon.
“I had a night… nightm… about the g…”
The sheriff’s deputy sounds on the verge of tears.
Victoria: “A nightmare about…?” she asks, full of motherly warmth.
GM: “The… the guy! The priest! It was… w…”
There’s no mistaking it. Jordan is full on sobbing now.
Anna stirs in bed and groggily looks up at her girlfriend.
Victoria: “I think that’s all a nightmare,” she purrs. “Why don’t we meet… tomorrow, hm?”
Fingers wrap Anna’s throat, pressing her lightly back to bed.
GM: Does she like that?
Maybe it takes a little while to process after just waking up, but she settles down.
Jordan does not.
He makes a hysterical sound that sounds like something between a scream, a sob, and manic, delirious laughter.
Victoria: “Jordan, my love, it’s only a dream, hm? That’s all it is. Shhh… I’ll see you tomorrow, and you’ll forget all about it. Won’t you? Don’t you believe me?”
She presses more firmly to Anna’s throat.
GM: Anna obediently stays down.
But Jordan does not sound like he believes her, or that he will forget it. Or something.
All it comes messily, sloppily, deliriously, sobbingly tumbling out. To call it “word salad” would imply a modicum of coherence, and Jordan’s words have none. He babbles about being chased, about darkness, darkness, about being eaten, about being raped, about Hell, raped in Hell, dark in Hell, black in Hell, Hell, Hell, he’s going to Hell. For everything. He wishes he hadn’t done this. He wishes he hadn’t gotten involved. That he hadn’t had any, any part in it. He is hyperventilating. He is sobbing. He babbles something about piss in the sheets. He babbles about being paralyzed, and dying.
The man is having what sounds like a full-fledged mental breakdown.
Victoria: “Jordan, my dear, nothing will happen to you. Nothing bad has happened to you. What are you going on about?”
GM: Victoria just gets more of the same frenzied, manic, crying and shrieking babble. Jordan does not sound in the least bit reassured.
Victoria: “Six o’clock tomorrow, Jordan. Okay? Six o’clock. Say it back to me.”
She rolls her eyes, looking at Anna.
GM: “NN-NNOOO!!!” Jordan wails. “I NUH, NUH, NNEEEED Y-Y-I’M K-K-K-ILL M-MYS, F, F—I N-NEEE-UUUHHH-HH-HUH-HUH!”
The man’s words trail off into incoherent sobbing.
Anna frowns with concern.
Victoria: A chill runs down her spine.
“Jordan, baby. Come on. You’re not going to do that. Why do you want to do that?”
She’s painfully calm. She’s his opposite.
GM: “HE WAS A PR… PIESSSTTT!” Jordan screams. He rambles. About how he’s going to Hell. About how it’s too late for him. He’s gone to Hell, he’s going to Hell, Hell is waiting for him, Hell has seen him.
Victoria: Why did she have to rely on such a pussy?
“Do you need me to come see you, Jordan?”
GM: Anna pulls her phone off the table, taps something out, and holds it up:
Victoria: She nods.
GM: Anna taps:
“YE… YES! YES!” Jordan babbles. “YUH-YUH… I NEEEEED YOU! I NEEEE-EEEEE-EEEEED YOUUUU!”
Victoria: She shakes her head.
“Meet me at the usual place, hm?”
GM: “C-can you c-come to m-m-my house-se…?”
He needs mental health services, not a dominatrix right now.
Victoria: She covers the receiver.
Then back to the phone.
“You know I can’t do that, baby.”
GM: “Get him to call a suicide hotline, at least!” says Anna.
“P-p-please…” Jordan sobs.
Victoria: “Jordan, honey, do you really think you’re going to hurt yourself?”
She gestures Anna to get the number.
GM: “YES! YES! I’M GOING TO H… H…. HHHEELLL!!!!!”
Anna pulls one up on her phone and holds it up.
Victoria: “No you’re not, Jordan. You’re a good boy. Good boys don’t go there. Now, I need you to come to my place—okay? You know where it is. Just call a cab. You can get there.”
GM: A long silence greets Victoria’s first statement.
But at her second, he falteringly manages,
“O… k…k… ay…”
Victoria: “Good boy.”
She hangs up and starts getting dressed.
“Fucking hell. He’s going to get me killed, or arrested, or—fucking—back to sleep, okay? I’ll be back soon.”
“If I don’t text you within two hours, call the cops and send the to my office.”
GM: “Wai—hold on!” says Anna, getting out of bed.
“This seriously is not your job.”
Victoria: “I’ll tell you more about it when I get back, ’kay?”
No, she’ll probably not—but she hopes it soothes her for now.
“There are reasons I have to be the one to do this.”
GM: “Look, we receive some suicide prevention training, as teachers,” says Anna. “And… the biggest thing it played up is that we’re great at detecting students at risk for suicide, but we should leave the actual treating to the pros.”
“Jumping out of bed like this kind of violates a bunch of professional boundaries, too. It’s not your place to talk a client down from suicide.”
Victoria: “It is when that client just did some very unethical work to make the world right again, and the police would be very interested to know why he’s yelling about how he wants to take his life over it.”
She holds a pause.
“This is one of those ‘you don’t want to know’ times, Anna.”
GM: Anna looks torn.
“Well, I guess the question is, is this work worth his life?”
“Because you might not be able to help him.”
“What does he do after you leave?”
Victoria: “I won’t leave him in need of help, Anna. Promise.”
Her face softens.
GM: “All right,” Anna relents. “Just… don’t make this a habit. Your clients really shouldn’t be doing this.”
Victoria: She shakes her head, kissing Anna’s forehead.
“Promise. This is a unique case.”
Monday night, 4 April 2016, PM
GM: It’s a short enough trip to her dungeon. It’s not long, either, before she hears banging against the door.
Victoria: She checks the window first.
GM: It’s him. He looks awful.
Victoria: She grips the knife in her pocket, and opens the door.
GM: Jordan staggers in and slams the door behind him. He’s shaking. His face is white, except for his eyes, which are red and puffy.
“I’m… going… to Hell…!”
Victoria: “Jordan, dear, come in.”
She already has hot-but-not-scalding tea prepared.
“Give me a hug. Come here.”
GM: He collapses into her embrace, trembling and weeping.
Victoria: She pulls him to the couch like that, pushing and reassuring him the whole while. She allows him to feel that human contact.
GM: He needs it. He sobs. He moans. He weeps.
“This… this was… a m-mistake… we fucked up. Oh, god, we fucked up…”
Victoria: “Shhh… He’s no more free of sin than any in the depths of Parish.”
Irony? She’s amused, though it doesn’t show.
“Why the sudden guilt?”
GM: “I had a d… dr…”
He swallows, shaking his head.
GM: Jordan chokes back a sob and buries his face against Victoria.
Victoria: She rubs his back, cooing.
“It’s okay… it’ll all be okay… just a dream… just a dream…”
“Did something happen with the priest…?”
GM: “We’re going to Hell,” Jordan whispers, his voice faint against the rain plunking overhead.
“Both of us.”
Victoria: “Perhaps. When the time comes. Why do you say?”
GM: Jordan just shudders and clings to Victoria.
Victoria: “Is someone coming for us, Jordan?”
GM: “They’re waiting for us,” he whispers. “The demons. They know who we are. They know… what we did…”
Victoria: “What demons are these, my love? Your friends in the mob? The police? How do you know what demons they are?”
GM: “DEMONS,” Jordan repeats, emphatically.
Victoria: “Did you know that I’m a demon slayer?”
She sounds entirely believable. Or deranged. Probably the prior to him.
GM: Or joking.
But Jordan looks little assured.
He starts to cry again.
“I don’t… I don’t… oh god, I’m sorry…!”
Victoria: “They can’t get you here, Jordan. It’s impossible. You’ll be entirely safe here. Shhh… rest.”
GM: Jordan looks little assured by those words, too.
But resting, at least, looks like something he wants to do.
He clings to her, head resting against her, and closes his eyes.
Victoria: Resting he can do. For now.
What the fuck, Jordan?
She pulls out her phone.
Fine so far…
GM: Good news. You coming home soon?
GM: Should I go back to sleep?
Victoria: Ill wake you up
GM: K. I’ll get some rest tile then. Good luck with your guy
Oh and bill him
Victoria: He’ll be licking our floor for weeks
GM: I don’t even want to guess where that tongue has been…
Victoria: Worry about where mine is going to be.
She sends a selfie of her poking it out, entirely a clown.
GM: I’m not worried about your tongue at all :)
Lol some romantic line that is
GM: Yes mistress ;)
Victoria: Vic locks the front door, and returns to the couch. She watches for a while, and eventually drifts off.
Tuesday night, 5 April 2016, AM
GM: Victoria dreams of Émelise kissing and fondling her. When she wakes up, Jordan’s still there. He’s twitching and whimpering in his sleep.
Victoria also smells urine.
There’s not a ton of it.
But there’s enough to smell.
Victoria: “What the f…? JORDAN!”
She smacks him.
GM: Jordan gives a half-gasp, half-scream at the contact. He pulls away and looks wildly around. His eyes are wide and his skin is sweaty.
Victoria: “You pissed yourself! You know damn well you’re paying for the cleaning bills!”
GM: Does he look embarrassed?
He just stares past Victoria with hollow eyes, breathing hard.
Victoria: “What. Happened.”
GM: “We’re going to Hell,” Jordan whispers. His voice is without hope.
He starts softly crying.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
Victoria: “Is there a reason you can’t tell me why we’re going to hell?”
GM: “The priest!” Jordan exclaims.
“He was a priest!”
Victoria: “And? Who gives a fuck? You’ve done worst to less deserving people.”
GM: “He was a m… man of God.”
Victoria: “He was a pawn of a wealthy family, and as politically shrewd and cold-hearted as the rest of them. Do not think him pious.”
GM: Jordan just shudders.
“The demon did.”
Victoria: “Which demon?”
GM: Jordan looks at her blankly.
Victoria: “Tell me, Jordan.”
GM: “I don’t… huh?”
Victoria: “You don’t… what?”
GM: “I don’t understand.”
Jordan starts softly crying again.
“I don’t understand.”
Victoria: “What do you not understand?”
GM: “Everything!” Jordan sputters.
He still hasn’t moved from his piss stain.
Victoria: “Jordan. Fuck’s sake. What is wrong with your head? You were never like this. Why can’t you tell me anything about the ‘demon’?”
GM: “STOP IT!” Jordan yells. “STOP IT! You’re suh, suh-posd to m-make things better, and yuh-you’re NOT! I’m d-done! I’m out!”
He stomps towards the door in his piss-stained pants.
Victoria: “Your piss-covered ass slept on MY couch! Get your ass back here!”
She stomps after him.
GM: She catches up to him as he yanks the door open, not stopping.
She grabs his shoulder.
“Get the fuck back in here!”
He needs an ambulance. She doesn’t call one.
GM: Jordan turns around as she grabs him and shoves at her.
Victoria: She steps backward from the shove.
“What the fuck, man?! I’m trying to HELP you!”
GM: Jordan gives a hysteric yell and runs out into the rain.
Victoria: Victoria is further confirmed that children aren’t in her future.
She locks the door and chases after him.
GM: She catches up to him. Rain pelts in her face.
Jordan doesn’t respond to her. Just keeps running.
Victoria: “DUDE! FUCKING STOP!”
She snags his jacket.
Every minute. Every last fucking minute she has to do this—self-preservation or not—she’s billing him a full hour.
GM: Jordan gives another yell and throws a punch at her.
“YOU’RE GOING TO HELL!”
Victoria: She ducks the punch, aiming to sink her knee into his balls.
“Neither of us are going to hell!”
GM: Victoria’s knee solidly connects with that most sensitive part of male anatomy. Jordan gives a half-cry, half-gagging noise and goes down to one knee then throws a punch into Victoria’s kidneys. It hurts. He throws himself at her as she stumbles, grabbing her by the waist. She goes down after him in a heap. The wet street scrapes her skin. Rain pounds over them both. Jordan screams and throws wild, terror- and adrenaline-fueled punches. Victoria fights herself fighting back, just as hard, out of simple self-preservation instinct.
There’s no finesse or even dignity in what they do. Just two people, flailing and brawling on a dirty street as they’re soaked under the downpour. Jordan socks Victoria in her face, in her gut, even in the cunt. She hurts, everywhere, and tastes blood. So does Jordan. Victoria sees a tooth go flying under one of her punches, or it might just be the rain. Someone throws up. She’s not sure who. She’s not sure how it all goes, in the haze of adrenaline—just that Jordan’s gone by the time she comes to.
And she hurts, everywhere.
Maybe he beat her bloody and left her there. Maybe she beat him bloody and he ran off. There’s red over the streets. Hers? His? Both? Somehow it feels like it doesn’t matter. No one feels like they’ve won this fight. Victoria’s face feels swollen, her lip feels split, and she has a hard time seeing out of one eye. She’s absolutely soaked under the rain.
No one, her gut tells her again, won this fight.
Victoria: She recalls flashes: A spark of pain in her ribs. Her hair pulled. The crunch of his nose. Hitting the ground. Pain in the back of her skull.
White. Then black. Then rain. And heat. Always heat. Heat from the starting day, and heat from the blood on her face.
She pats her pocket. Is the knife still there? The gun?
GM: She finds both.
Did she use either?
They’re wet with rain, but that might’ve happened anyway.
Victoria: She stows them away, and steadily gets to her feet. Can she stand?
GM: It hurts, but looks like it.
Victoria: She stumbles back to the house. No more rain. It smells like piss. She’s going to bill him for every punch.
GM: For all the smell, it’s dry indoors, and light.
The night beyond is dark, wet, cold. Each plunk of rain seems to reverberate with Jordan’s hope-stricken words:
“We’re going to Hell.”
Victoria: Maybe he is. She isn’t planning on that for a long, long time.
She moves into the bathroom to examine herself.
GM: She looks like shit. She’s got a black eye, split lip, and multiple bruises. Her hair is a soggy, sorry mess.
She wonders how Jordan looks.
Victoria: She looks better than Jordan looks on his best day. The thought makes her feel a bit better.
What the fuck is going on? Jordan was never the most intelligent, stable person in the world, but he’d never displayed such a primal breakdown.
She can’t call the cops. That’ll just be another bribe and uncomfortable explanations.
She snags a medical kit and begins cleaning what damage she can.
She can’t tell Christina. Not until she has a solution. Not if she wants to be something. Nor Jill.
It stings. It looks worse once the blood is wiped away.
GM: Her no longer bloody, but still beaten reflection dully stares back at her.
How the hell did it come to this?
Victoria: She wonders how long it’s been since Jordan has seen a doctor. Maybe she should ask for medical history in future clients.
But she doesn’t go home. She heads to her car, and drives the nearby blocks looking for Jordan.
GM: Anna doesn’t immediately reply. Maybe she’s still asleep.
Victoria finds no trace of Jordan. Not in the middle of the rainy night, at least, while she’s tired and hurting everywhere. Who knows where he went?
A dirty homeless man lying under a corner’s roof leers and pulls out his genitals as she drives by.
Victoria: She makes the universal gesture for ‘tiny pp’ and moves on.
Whatever. Jordan probably got hit by a car. Dead men tell no tales.
She sets her sights on going home.
GM: She finds Anna contently asleep in their bed.
Victoria: Which is worse: Anna waking up to her sleeping in this state, or waking her up intentionally?
She gets an ice pack to hide some of the damage, then sits and nudges her.
“Anna…” she croons.
GM: “Mmmf…” Anna mumbles, stirring. “Daddy, go’ the eggyolk in your han’…”
GM: “Mmmf… wuzzi… Sylvie?”
Anna gives a tired yawn and sits up.
She fumbles around for the light.
She squints and blinks dully after flicking it on.
“Why you got an ice pack…?”
Victoria: “Hey, I’m not looking the best… don’t be scared. I’m fine.”
GM: Anna blinks again.
“How’d it go with it… wait, why you got an ice pack?” she repeats.
Victoria: “We had a… Disagreement.”
She keeps it firmly in place.
GM: Anna suddenly seems to wake up more.
“He hurt you?!”
Victoria: “You should see the other guy,” she grins.
GM: “Let me see you,” says Anna, gently attempting to move aside the pack.
Victoria: “Promise not to freak out?”
GM: Those words seem to bring her little comfort.
“Not if you’re missing an eye. But I’ll try.”
Victoria: She snorts, pulling it away.
GM: Anna’s hands go to her mouth.
Victoria: “No freaking!”
GM: She lowers them after a moment, her eyes still wide. She gingerly rests her hands on Sylvia, as if afraid to hurt her further.
“What the hell happened!?”
Victoria: “Something is wrong with him,” she answers, uncertain. “It’s as if he cracked, but it doesn’t make sense. Not with the work and people he’s involved with. This shouldn’t have happened, but I can’t think of anything that would induce this behavior outside drugs.”
And she isn’t sure whether or not he is on drugs. He’d certainly never been that crazy.
“He pissed my couch, got angry, ran out the door, and got into a fight with me when I chased him. I woke up—I don’t know how long later—on the sidewalk. He’s gone.”
GM: “Oh my god!” Anna exclaims.
She throws her arms around Sylvia and squeezes her tight, as if to make sure she’s still there. It hurts, a bit.
“Don’t ever see a client like that again! I knew this was a bad idea!”
Victoria: She might smell like piss, too. After all, she was sleeping next to him.
“Not every client is paid to do things not everyone would be proud of.”
And she leaves it there. No cops.
“I need to find him, but not now. He was going on and on and on about demons, and how we’re both going to Hell, but he never once told me what they were or what happened.”
GM: Anna blinks and pulls back, enough, to look Sylvia in the eye, but keeps her arms on her girlfriend.
“Sylvia, let this guy go. You do not want to find him!”
Victoria: “I have to. I have to. If he goes blabbing to the cops about this, then it’ll be more trouble than dealing with this on my own.”
She pokes Anna in the ribs.
“Come on. You know I’m tougher than I look.”
GM: “No! You don’t have to! No amount of money is worth you getting attacked like this!”
It takes a moment before the words seem to fully process.
“Why would he go to the cops, anyway, if he’s crazy and attacked you? Crazy people rambling about demons don’t call the cops.”
“And if he does, it was self-defense. You’re safe.”
Victoria: “He’s fucking crazy. I don’t know what he’ll do. The problem is his ranting touches on what I paid him to do, which was illegal, and would interest the cops.”
“I’m not worried about it tonight. Not tonight. Maybe not in the morning.”
GM: Anna frowns. “That you paid… him to do?”
“I thought he was a client. That he was paying you.”
Victoria: “Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to.”
GM: “I kind of want them when the love of my life staggers in at 5 AM after getting attacked by a crazy man.”
“And then wants to go find him again.”
Victoria: She presses a finger to Anna’s nose.
“Let me be a hero once in a while.”
GM: “This isn’t being a hero,” says Anna. “Who are you saving?”
GM: “I don’t see us getting saved. I see you getting hurt, and now wanting to do something dangerous.”
Victoria: “You don’t have to see. You weren’t supposed to see. This is just a setback.”
That’s right, Victoria, that’s all this is. A setback.
GM: “Sylvia, this isn’t normal dominatrix stuff! You see a guy, you help him live out his fantasy, you get paid, done. What is going on?”
Anna looks at Sylvia for a moment. There’s fear in her eyes.
“I’m scared for you. For us.”
Victoria: She pulls the teacher into a warm hug.
“Anna, love, it’s okay. It’ll all be okay. Every last thing.”
Because she’ll make it that way. That’s how it always works, doesn’t it?
GM: Anna falls silent under that hug.
She obviously wants to believe that.
“Will you at least talk to a lawyer, first,” she says. “Instead of trying to find a crazy man.”
Victoria: She shakes her head.
GM: “Sylvia… I can’t accept you just throwing yourself into a dangerous situation, without even a why,” says Anna.
Victoria: “Do you trust me?”
GM: “With my life.”
Victoria: “Then trust that this is all happening for the better.”
GM: Anna’s quiet for a moment.
“Is this… what submitting really looks like, outside of the bedroom?”
Victoria: “No, Anna, this is what it looks like when your partner loves you and is trying to protect you from the monsters out there, who she engaged with in the first place to make the world just a little more fair to the person she loves.”
GM: Anna’s quiet again.
It’s a lot to ask.
To just accept this.
Sylvia seeking out the crazy client who ranted about demons, pulled her out of bed in the middle of the night, and sent her home with an ice pack and the shit kicked out of her.
Sylvia not talking to a lawyer, after the talk about illegal activity.
Sylvia not even disclosing any details, or reasons, besides, ‘for us.’
It’s a lot to ask.
“Okay,” Anna says quietly.
“You let me teach at an inner city school. And never said ‘I told you so.’”
“You were right about Jeff. You’ve made better decisions than I have.”
She takes a long breath, as if to convince herself.
“I will trust you on this.”
“I will trust you to handle it your way.”
Victoria: The beaten woman pulls Anna into a hug, and leans the pair of them into bed.
“I won’t break your trust. I won’t go anywhere until morning, and when the time comes, I will tell you why this happened.”
GM: There’s some relief on Anna’s face, at that. Hearing Sylvia will at least wait until morning.
Anna wordlessly holds her close. The rain pounds overhead. Jordan is out there somewhere, in some wet and dark and lonely corner of the city, ranting his madness. Sylvia still hurts, everywhere.
But her bed is soft and warm, and so is Anna’s embrace. She can hear the woman’s steady breathing in the dark.
For all their worries, there’s nowhere the two would rather be.