Feed The Machine

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Here's to the greater good, for all.

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« Providence || Save My Soul ||


Skit was scared.

'I shouldn't be scared,' he thought to himself as he looked out at the scenery before him. And yet, he was.

He shivered as the snow collected on him. He would brush it off him, but the softness of it helped him meditate.

The icy mountain wind pushed against him, trying to push him over the cliffside. Yet he stayed firm, looking up at the sky, wondering if Robby was looking back down at him. He heard the distinct sound of a Way opening behind him.

"Skit?"

Iris stepped out of the Way that connected Skit's little mountain escape to the Detective Agency and stood behind him.

"Skit? Can you hear me?"

Skit turned his gaze down from the heavens to the icy peaks that surrounded his own. After a small pause, he responded.

"Yeah."

"They want you in their office. The both of us."

Skit sighed and looked down at the ground he sat on, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

"Now, Skit. They want us there now."

Skit nodded and got up, shaking the snow that had gathered on his shoulders. He took one last look at the Himalayas before following Iris through the Way.


"We didn't know."

Amos Marshall stared down his heir. He sat behind his desk, strapped to a metal chair which in turn was strapped to a large steam machine in the back of the room. The machine, in turned, pumped a strange liquid into Amos. It wasn't a powerful liquid - not nearly as strong as the spring that he use to have - but it kept him alive.

"Did you not take the time to prepare?"

To his right, sat in the centre of the desk, was Percy Dark. His normally slicked-back black hair was unruly and uncombed, sticking up in all the worst of places. He had taken off his chequered gray and blue suit jacket and had it draped over his chair as he leaned toward the two people standing in front of the desk. His heir responded,

"We thought it was gonna be a simple job. In and out."

"But it wasn't. It wasn't and my Robby is dead because of it."

On the opposite end of the desk sat Ruprecht Carter. He was completely dishevelled, his shoulder-length hair uncombed and his wrinkled suit haphazardly put on. There was an anger in his voice, as though he was on the verge of snapping on Iris and Skit. Given the situation, Amos didn't blame him.

"How were we supposed to know that a gun wouldn't be enough to bring him down?" asked Skit.

At this, Amos began laughing. Hysterically. The laughing quickly turned into a coughing fit, spraying blood over the countertop. Percy sighed and grabbed a handkerchief, wiping the blood off the wood. He handed Amos a cup of water before turning back to Skit.

"You seriously believed bullets would be enough to take down a walking corpse? Our men in the Consortium told us that Elias died as a result of a… magical bird. If he could survive that, what makes you think he wouldn't survive bullets?"

"I…," Iris started, before stopping. She slumped over, looking defeated.

Ruprecht began to get up, leaning over the desk to get closer to Iris and Skit. He was just about to open his mouth when Percy, who had also gotten up, put his hand on his shoulder, pushing him back down to his seat.

"It doesn't matter. We've already sent some of our Detectives to deal with Elias. Perhaps they'll do a better job of disposing of him than you two have. Dismissed."


"Too harsh? We were too soft on them, if you ask me."

Ruprecht took a big swig of his flask, glupping down the alcohol like water. It was already dark out, but the three men were still in the office. Ruprecht had sat against the wall underneath the window, trying to drown his sorrows.

"It's… not like they intended… to get Robert killed… It was an accident… A stupid accident, but… an accident nonetheless."

Amos struggled to speak, squeezing his words in between each shakey breath. Percy passed him another cup of water, hoping a wet throat would help Amos speak more clearly.

"I understand you're grief, Ruprecht, but you're acting as though we are doing nothing about this. I've already sent two Detectives after Elias, with more on call if need be. I can assure you Robert will be avenged."

Ruprecht shook his head, taking another swig of his drink.

"Who did you even send?"

Percy sighed, reaching down and grabbing a box from underneath the desk. He opened it and pulled out a glass jar, within which was a still-beating heart.

"The Natives, Jigsaw and Iron Wings. They've dealt with worse before, I'm more than certain they can dispose of Elias."

Amos finished his cup of water and cleared his throat, preparing himself to speak.

"You mentioned a… magical bird… Where is it now…?"

Percy nodded and opened a drawer on the desk, looking through the papers stored within before pulling out a Consortium warrant.

"It's a vulture, owned by that Fuller man. Last the Consortium knows, a man named Gary Pebbler released it out into the Chihuahua Desert. I've already sent some men to keep an eye on it."

"What do you plan… on doing with it."

Percy turned to Amos and simply smiled.


Elias stuffed the bag full of all the food he could find. At this point, it was starting to come apart at the seams, but he wasn't sure how much food he would need for the journey. Or if he even needed food, for that matter.

He tied up the bag and slung it over his shoulder, holding it in place with a hand from his coat. He grabbed his revolver from the counter, stepped over the body of Detective Robert Marshall, and made his way towards the exit. Just as he was about to open the door, he heard someone clear their throat behind him.

"H-Hey! Where you think you're going?"

Elias sighed and turned around, seeing Cole behind the counter. From here, Elias could see that he was completely drenched in sweat, nervously shaking in his boots.

"Mexico, Cole. Gonna find that bird who put me in the ground and do the same to it."

"A-and what about MCD?"

"What about 'em? Doubt they'll follow me out of the country."

"I mean, you did shoot the grandson of one of their owners. Seems like something they'd follow you down to Mexico for. I know I would."

Elias laughed. "You wouldn't chase down a man if he killed your whole darn family, Cole. Just get to the point here."

"MCD isn't gonna leave you alone after this. They're gonna hunt you down, shoot you, and go out of their way to make sure you stay down. If I were you, I'd make sure they wouldn't be able to do that."

Elias put his bag down and sat on it, hearing some of the food get squished under his weight.

"Fine, I'll into hiding after I kill the bird. Keep 'em off my trail and lay low. Can't be too hard."

"B-but MCD has informants everywhere. With how many associates those three have, I doubt even you could keep out of their sight for long."

"The Consortium then. Get 'em to protect me. Simple as that."

Cole shook his head. "Al Fine is friends with Carter. I'm surprised you didn't know that, Elias. Wouldn't be long before she or someone else turned you in for a ransom."

Elias sighed and threw his hands up in the air. "Fine, what do you recommend I do then, Cole?"

"Go after them. They're pretty public with where they stay at, that town up in Nevada. Deal with them and don't worry about them anymore."

Elias shook his head and inspected his revolver. Gunpowder still caked the barrel from where he had shot Robby only a few hours ago.

"Fine."

"What?"

"I'll go after them. Where is it they stay, Goldfield or something like that? Ain't that long of a ride from here. Kill three old men, then head back down to kill a bird the size of a horse. Shouldn't be too much trouble."

Cole smiled and clapped his hands, turning to run into his backroom. "Great! I'll go and pack my things!"

A confused look emerged on Elias' face as he got up, walking back up to the counter.

"Wow, wow. Slow your horses there, Thereven. I never said you were coming with me."

Cole shouted back at Elias over the sounds of him rummaging through his stuff. For all Elias knew, Cole probably had a hoard of useless little trinkets back there.

"Figured you might want someone to keep you company on the ride there. Someone to look out for your back too!"

"You don't even know how to use a gun, Cole! All you're gonna do is slow me down out there. Get yourself killed."

"My dad was a lawman too! Really good aim too, according to my mama. He must've passed some of that down to me when I was born."

Cole peaked his head out of the doorframe, looking straight at Elias.

"I was here when you killed him, anyways. Chances are they'll come for me too. It's safer for me to stay with you than fend for myself here."

Elias opened his mouth to retort but closed it before he could say anything. He let out a deep breath and looked down at the scratched wood of the counter. Some blood had dried on it, although he couldn't tell if it was from last night or another altercation.

"Fine. I'll meet you outside."


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