The Apartment Of Alia Falcos...
Marionette squirmed in her sleep and groaned. The consistant noise woke her up as she tried to roll over. When nothing
stopped her, she sat up, hoping that the past few days were little more than a dream. When she saw the mirror, she shook her
She was still a teenager, still had no idea of her original identity, and still knew nothing except what Shadow had planted
into her mind and what she had seen and heard over the past couple of days. Something was different though. She looked at
herself again, and saw that her strings, handle, and key had vanished, and that she had been cleaned, and given a clean outfit.
Removing the blankets, she saw that she was wearing a pink t-shirt with a white, cartoony-looking cat on it, and blue jean-shorts.
She looked at her wrists, and saw small nubs on them where the strings were before. She blinked, and then reached around underneath
the red t-shirt that had been put on her, and felt her back. Directly in the center of her spine was a metal ball. Marionette
blinked, and then turned her attention back to her wrists. She concentrated on them, and the small white nubs on her wrists
began to unravel, becoming her strings.
A good thing to know, she thought, that I can control these stupid things and the key that much. It'll help me
hide whenever I get out of... Marionette looked around, seeing a messy, clothes-and-paper strewn apartment, ...wherever
"Oh, so you're awake."
Marionette turned in the bed she was in with a start, seeing her attacker from last night, clad in blue sweatpants and
a black tank-top, standing next to an abused-looking cylindrical sack hanging from the ceiling. She rolled out of the bed
and got to her feet, never taking her eyes off the woman as she casually strode down into the kitchen area of the apartment
and pulled a beer out of the refrigerator.
"Why did you bring me here?" Marionette demanded.
"Because the police wouldn't have been able to contain you."
"Oh, and you could?" Marionette asked, stalling as she fully unraveled the strings on her wrists. She'd simply knock her
out, find her clothes, and leave.
Alia took a swig of the beer. "Yeah." She caught the reflection of Marionette unravelling her strings in the glass of the
bottle. They had all retracted into her body last night when she had landed on the balcony, giving her the chance to clean
up the young girl. But now it seemed that she was going to attack. Alia sighed and said, "Rainbow Excalibur."
Marionette didn't even have time to react as a rainbow-colored blur shot out of Alia's back, striking her square in the
jaw with an armored fist.
Marionette staggered back, the strings shooting back into her wrists as she lost her balance, forcing her to put a hand
on the wall to stabalize herself. She glared at the Stand, which just smirked at her. Alia walked down and gestured to a green
vynil recliner. Marionette frowned, and sat.
"Now," Alia said, "I still think you were the one who killed that woman..."
"She was my mother," Marionette snapped.
Alia paused, unsure of what to say to that. Rainbow Excalibur just shrugged. "How can I believe that?" Alia asked after
a long moment.
"It's the truth." Marionette said, curling up on her chair, pouting.
"If she was your mother, then why did you kill her?" Alia said, sitting on the steps in front of her.
"I... I was possessed by a demon spirit. He used my shape-shifting, and my other powers to kill people."
"So you were the cop that went nuts, too? The one whose's body they found in the park?" Alia asked, staring intently at
her. "Yes," Marionette blinked, realizing, what she was saying, "I mean no, I mean..." Marionette slumped over, her head on
her knees, and began to cry, "I didn't used to be like this! I was human before Shadow changed me!"
Alia blinked and stood up. She hesitated for a moment then went over to Marionette, wrapping her arms around her gently.
Marionette leaned into Alia, tears streaming down her face. After a few minutes, Marionette calmed down.
"You okay now?" Alia asked, sitting on the arm of the chair, making it creak. Marionette sniffed, and nodded. "All right.
I'm going to keep asking you questions. You just tell me your answers as best you can, in your own words."
Alia got up, then sat down on the floor in front of her. "All right. Now, first off, what exactly are you?"
"I don't know."
Alia sighed, drooping her head. Marionette got a pained expression on her face. "Seriously. I've only been like this for
two, three days at the most. I think I'm some kind of changling demon, but I don't know how much of what Shadow implanted
in me is up-to-date, or what is just his version of things."
Alia looked back up at her. "'Implanted in you?' I'm not sure I understand."
Marionette licked her lips. "When I was changed, Shadow took out all of what little memories I had. The only thing I know
clearly is that I was a little girl, somewhere in the single-number age, named Abigail Murdock. My name I only just recently
learned. When I was changed, Shadow gave me his memories, and what he knew of the world where he was born."
"Which is where?"
Marionette thought for a moment, and, as Alia watched, her whole demeanor changed, becoming more formal, and less innocent.
"A dimension called Makai. Humans don't live there, only demons and monsters of various kinds, although humans can get there
through portals hidden in places around the world. There are seven realms. The Demon Realm, ruled by a powerful beast called
Ozum. Nocturne, home of succubi and incubi, ruled over by the Aensland clan. Sithicus, home of the vampires, ruled by the
only exsisting noble family, the Maximoff clan. The Wilderness, home of the weres, ruled by the Garou known as Skindancer.
The Plague Lands, home of zombies, ruled by the Festering King, a walking corpse of great power. The Shadowlands, where entities
such as myself and Shadow live, ruled by the Shade Lord. And the Chaosgrounds, ruled by Aballam, the mad god-demon, where
madness reigns. Also in Makai resides the Hive, home of the soul-drinking Bee Hierarchy, the deadliest predators of the realm,
and a hidden place called Mikai, created by a being called Jedah. Not much is known about it." Marionette blinked as she finished,
then shook her head, as if trying to shake off something that had come over her. Alia gaped at her, taking in this information.
"A whole DIMENSION of monsters?" Alia managed finally.
Marionette nodded. "I've only been in the Wilderness, where Shadow took me to create me. When I first was created, I was
Shadow's servant, and killed a werewolf, the one that attacked me earlier. I don't know how he was brought back to life, Shadow
ate his soul. He ordered me to kill the pack the werewolf was leading, but I wouldn't. He would have attacked me but he led
me away when he sensed a platoon of Bees nearby. He possessed me in my sleep and came here, taking me on a killing spree.
I don't know why, but every life he took with my body caused something inside me great pain. I think I started to throw him
off when he killed my mother. He ripped open her chest with my hands and tried to make me eat her heart, but I threw him out
of me. I didn't know what to do after that. My mother, who I couldn't even remember, had been killed by hands. Someone else
was using them but still, it... I..." Thinking about her mother hurt, and she started to cry again. Alia waited as she pulled
"Who and what is Shadow?" Alia asked when Marionette had calmed down again.
Marionette sighed and looked out the window. Rainbow Excalibur, who had been hovering above them since the conversation
began, saw a look of absolute hatred cross Marionette's face briefly, her eyes flashing red. "He used to be a werewolf/demon
crossbreed. He may have ruled Makai in his time period when he first exsisted, but he didn't have all of his memory back by
then. He calls himself Shadow, which is also the name of what he is. Shadows, normally, are shape-shifters, but, according
to what he knew, he got our powers reversed, and he ended up needing to possess people."
"So you are suppossed to be the one who possesses people?"
Marionette shrugged. "I guess," she said, beginning to giggle. She looked out the window again, the turned back to Alia,
smiling helplessly. "Goof didn't have any originality. The new name he gave me is what I am."
Alia thought for a moment. "What about that werewolf I saw fighting you?"
"That was the one I killed to begin with. Like I said earlier, I don't know how he survived."
Alia frowned, then sighed, standing up to go get her beer, which she had left on the kitchen table. She turned back to
Marionette, who was staring out the window. She considered Marionette for a time, running a hand through her extremely short,
black hair. She looked up to her stand, which just shrugged and turned into a mist, re-entering Alia's body through her chest.
Marionette turned to Alia suddenly and said,
"Hey, if you don't mind, I have a couple questions for you."
"Shoot," Alia said, taking a swig of her beer.
"How did you get me cleaned up? I understand how you got my clothes off, with my key and strings going back in me, but
when the cops tried, the water just boiled at the touch."
"What were you feeling at the time? At the station, I mean."
Marionette blinked, and thought back, trying to remember. "Sad, I guess. And lonely. A little hostile," It dawned on her
suddenly, as she said that, and that was when she figured it out.
"So the water-boiling thing was just because I was feeling angry?"
Alia nodded, finished her beer, then burped. "'Scuse me. Yeah. That was my theory."
Marionette grinned, pleased that she had figured it out, then looked down at her clothes. "Where was the outfit I was wearing?"
"In the laundry," Alia said, leaning up against a wall, "Your hat's in the closet with my shield. I put that on you so
when we go out for breakfast today, you'd look at least a bit normal."
Marionette blinked. "You're taking me out to eat?"
"Why? I thought you'd turn me over to the police, or some government people..."
Alia frowned. "Truth be told, I don't know why I brought you back here instead of turning you in. There was just something
about you that seemed... I don't know... innocent. I'm going to keep you with me for a while, and if I think your innocent,
I'll try and get the police off of your case. Now c'mon. There are some shoes near the bed, and you're about my size. I'm
going to shower, and then we'll head out to get some breakfast at McDonalds or someplace."
This struck Alia as funny, and she began to laugh. She saw the irritated expression on Marionette's face, and began to
laugh even harder. "You really were young when you changed. C'mon. Put these on and lets get moving." Alia threw her a pair
of shoes. Marionette stared at them blankly for a moment, then looked at Alia as she put her own shoes on. She mimicked her
as best she could, but it took her a couple tries before she could tie the laces without tying her fingers together.
They walked down the hallway to the elevator together, Alia telling Marionette various things about what to do and what
not to do while in the restaurant. Marionette listened intently, but as she did, she started to realize that Alia was the
first person she had felt comfortable being around since her change. She smiled, taking her arm and resting her head on Alia's
shoulder. Alia was bothered by this at first, but let her do so, thinking that she just needed some companionship.
Still, there was something about her...
The door to the elevator dinged and Alia shook off the odd feeling that was coming over her. It was just nothing. She turned
"Since you're probably new to the city, I'm going to take you in my car."
Marionette nodded, still holding on to Alia's arm.
Later, at McDonalds...
Marionette smiled as she got out of the car. It had been so exciting for her, simply going out and seeing things she hadn't
seen before. Alia had been kind enough to tell her what everything she pointed at was. She couldn't believe how much was to
see in just a few blocks of New York City! And now this nice woman was taking her to lunch. And at such a big place, too!
It looked like there was a playground inside! Wow!
Alia mused on how quickly Marionette forgot that she had kicked the crap out of her and basically kidnapped her. Maybe
she really is just a silly little girl.
"Oh neato! Who's this?" Marionette asked, pointing to a man in a bright yellow suit with a painted white face who was dancing
around and handing out balloons to little kids.
"Hmmm?" Alia smiled. "That's Ronald McDonald. The restaurant's mascot."
"He's so cute! Can I have a balloon?"
Alia laughed. "Sure. Go ahead." Marionette cheered and went over to the clown, who seemed confused for a moment but gave
her the balloon anyway, going back to dancing playfully and singing. Marionette laughed and clapped along with the music.
Alia shook her head, trying to figure out what to make of her new companion.
She just seems so... childish.
"And yet she admitted that she was a demoness," piped in Rainbow Excalibur's voice in the back of her head.
I know I know. But she's still new to her powers.
"You saw the change that came over her when she started talking about Makai."
I don't think she has control over that. I don't think she has control, period.
"Maybe. But there is always the possibility that she is lying."
I don't think so. I don't think she knows how. Cally, I think, if I keep her with me and take care of her, I think I
can keep her good. But first I have to clear her name with the police.
"Are you sure that you ready for the responsibility of taking care of a demonic monster? And maybe face off against her
creator, who may be more evil than she is?" Alia frowned.
That is not fair, Cally. She can't help what she is. Aside from that, I can afford to take care of her.
She felt Excalibur grin inside of her head as her voice faded out. "I know that. But I am the embodiment of your common
sense and consience. I just feel the need to get in my two cents every so often."
Alia shook her head, and noticed Marionette tugging on her arm.
"C'mon c'mon! What are you standing around here for? I want something to eat! Let's go inside!"
Inside the restaurant...
Marionette pouted at the man running the playroom that said she was too tall to go in, and rejoined Alia in the waiting
"I told you," was all she said as Marionette huffed, "What would you like?"
Marionette looked up at the menu, then blushed. "I... um... can't read..."
Alia stared at her a moment. Marionette shrugged helplessly. "I never learned how... I think..."
She IS just a child... Alia thought, "Tell you what. I'll get you a Happy Meal. It's got food, a drink and a toy
"Oooh! Toy!" Marionette cheered.
Alia shook her head and chuckled, turning to the clerk. "Let's see. I'll have an Egg McMuffin Extra Value Meal and a..."
She stared at the menu in amazement. "There's a Breakfast Happy Meal now? Good grief."
The clerk grimaced, but retained her cheerful smile. "Yeah. It's another of our Psycho-Manager-From-Hell's ideas. It has
a sausage biscuit, a hash-browns pattie, and an orange juice."
Alia laughed, having eaten here before. "At least it's not as bad as the chocolate cheeseburgers."
Both women shuddered at the memory, garnering a curious look from Marionette.
"Anyway, I'll have one of those, too," Alia said. The clerk nodded, ringing up their order. Alia paid, and a few minutes
later, they were sitting next to each other in a corner booth. Marionette had torn open the box, going straight for the toy,
a small, Beanie Babies teddy bear. She hugged it as if it were the most important thing in the world to her. After that, she
started to eat her food, eating it slowly, savoring every bite.
Alia watched her with a mixture of affection and fascination. Marionette ate her meal like it was the first time she had
eaten anything like it.
In a way, that's true, she thought to herself. Then another, much darker thought occured to her.
"Marion... Abigail... You do know that you are wanted for murder."
Marionette choked briefly on her food, giving her a despairing look. "Yes..."
"You know I can't just keep you with me. I believe you when you say that you aren't directly reponsible, but I have to
let the police have you until I can clear your name."
Marionette looked like she was about to say something, but then just shook her head, clutching her little teddy bear and
staring down at the edge of the table. "I understand," she whispered.
Alia grimaced. She didn't know what to expect when she told her, but this wasn't one of the things she had thought of.
Marionette was sniffling, and looked like she was about to cry.
"REAL sensitive, Alia," snapped Rainbow Excalibur in her mind.
"*YES* now. If what she says is true, today with you was the FIRST happy moment she's had since her transformation. She's
a scared little girl who's all alone in the world, and you want to send her to some stinking prison?!"
I'd be working to get her out as quickly as possible... Alia managed lamely.
"Right. And who knows what would happen to her while she was waiting for you? Face it, Alia. Neither of us knows what we
are up against. Werewolves? Demons? REAL ones? We are in over our head. If you tried to investigate, we would most likely
end up DEAD, and she'd be stuck in jail forever. You can't just leave her like this."
Alia put her hand on her forehead and sighed. Damn you, Cally. When you're right, you're right. She turned to Marionette,
shocked at the lonely, sad look in her eyes that seemed to totally replace the cheerful innocence she had seen there earlier.
Marionette turned her head slightly towards Alia.
"Look. You can stay with me tonight, okay? And in the morning, I'll call the station and see about getting you released
into my custody."
Marionette looked up at her, hope shining in her eyes. "Do... do you mean it?"
Alia smiled warmly, nodding.
Marionette squealed in happiness and hugged Alia tightly. "Thank you! Thank you so much!"
"Good girl," said Rainbow Excalibur.
Alia returned Marionette's hug, holding the young girl tightly as she cried tears of happiness. As she did, though, Alia
thought, I'm probably going to regret this later. But I can't just leave her alone. Cally's right. She has nothing now.
Nothing except me. And for some odd reason I can't bear the thought of abandoning her.