What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

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What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by King of Spades on Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:50 am

Arthur Kirkland, a young art collector, awoke in the morning with a corpse by his bed and a painting stolen from the place of honour above the headboard. He didn't know who that man was, all sprawled on the floor with his throat slit open, his blood staining the expensive carpet. Arthur frowned and wondered if he had been drunk again last night and if he had picked up a random man for the night. But he was sure that he'd spent the night at home, reading modern literature. Besides, the stranger didn't suit his tastes at all, drunk or not, there was no way that Arthur could have ever chosen someone this unaesthetic.

More importantly though, and Arthur abruptly turned to stare at the wall with a pained expression, his favourite painting was gone. In a furious fit he'd begun hitting the pillows, throwing them against the wall over and over again.

He stood up with heavy limbs, his breath not willing to calm down as rage was still boiling within him. His bare feet touched the pool of blood on the carpet but he couldn't care less. Arthur walked out the room with indifference, leaving behind bloody foot prints as he moved his feet.

What he needed now was tea, later he could decide what do with the body or simply call the police.

"My Caravaggio," he sighed and he felt like crying.

(Yes Moany, I decided to play Arthur XD. Btw I have no idea where this is going, I just wanted to provide an odd enough crime scene)
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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by Guest on Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:11 am

(Hmm. Okay, so this is long just because it's trying to set a plot, I guess. So, yeah, don't expect this length, please, because I don't want another novel. XD But, it is also pretty badly written so apologies. XD Yay for fifteen minute posts!)

“Here ya go!” Alfred dropped the McDonalds bag in front of his long-time business partner Kiku, slurping on his milkshake as he plopped comfortably on the rolling desk chair. He propped his legs over the desk, almost stepping on some markers with his heels when Kiku possessively swept them off the tabletop with a curled arm.

The soft-spoken Japanese male barely looked up from his inking job, far too preoccupied by their deadline to acknowledge his growling stomach. But that was alright; that’s what Alfred was for. Slowly, the blonde American began to unwrap the fish sandwich he had bought for his friend. “So, do we have many more pages left?”

“Not many, America-san,” Kiku murmured, showing him a finished piece, “does this page meet your expectations?”

He slapped his milkshake on the table, admiring the page and the bright colors. “Kiku! You’ve outdone yourself again! Dude, how’s it possible that your art just gets better and better? Man," he sat back, "every time I think I’m gonna challenge you, you just…”

But he was interrupted by the sudden ringing of the phone. So he set the page down, picking up his cellphone with a flick of his wrist. “This is Al; who are you?” he answered, beaming a smile.

“H--hey A--this is Matthew…”

“Uh, Matthew?”

“Your brother!” the response was a harsh, whispered hiss.

“Oh, Mattie! What’s up, man? – Your name sounded all French for a moment there; couldn’t register what you were saying…”

He could almost hear his brother’s cheeks deflating. And then, Matt starting whispering even lower, and that's when he knew it was serious, “uh huh, whatever. Listen, I just returned early from my vacation in Canada; you know, the one I took with Francis? And already I have a strange case here at the office, which I think you might find very interesting. Think you can drop by now to get a quick look at the scene of the crime with me? – I can explain things more on the ride there.”

“Uh,” Alfred’s eyes flickered over a freshly written piece of paper in front of him. Kiku’s legible and prim handwriting read: Deadline. Midnight. Tomorrow. Please no. “Today? See, I kind of have this pending thing and it’s real important Mattie, but maybe some—”

“That’s why I’m calling you, Al--America. The crime that took place?—It’s page by page like one of yours and Kiku’s little cartoons—”

America eh? So it was serious.

“Hey! Comics. And if you’re going…!—wait, what did you say?”

“Are you coming or not?”

“I’ll be there soon.”

Alfred F. Jones, alias America when he was helping his brother with stuff, had nothing to do with law enforcement. He hadn’t even studied criminal science in college, though, then again, he hadn’t studied much during his college years in general. But, he was one-half of a famous comic book creating team, and had come up with the basic premise and intricate plotlines for now five different series of mystery comics, some of which involved superheroes and others which simply involved regular Joes trying to become superheroes.

(In other words, Alfred Jones was obsessed with heroes. Murders. Mysteries. All that stuff.)

He worked in a cramped closet-turned-studio in his two bedroom apartment in New York, which he shared with his best friend Kiku Honda, the talented artist that turned his story-board plots (elaborately detailed for stick figures) into full-length, colored and photoshopped masterpieces ready for print. Masterpieces enjoyed by hundreds—if not, thousands—of people.

So, of course, he was intrigued that someone seemed to be enjoying his stuff a bit too much. “Kiku, I’ll be back tonight to finish everything…” and before the other could complain, Alfred was gone. Out the door, out of the building, and into the scorching heat of New York.

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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by King of Spades on Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:00 pm

Arthur could suffocate. His mansion was big enough but a horde of police and forensics rushing up and down his personal living space made him tense and ill-tempered. Naturally, he had to tail after those ignorant investigators, making sure they didn't damage his collection.

"You idiot, don't touch my Bernini statue with your filthy hands!" He snapped at a forensic team member who had tried to secure any fingerprints on his priced statue.

"Seriously, that man is the worst for our work. You can't touch this, you can't touch that. What's with this statue anyway? It's a nun touching her breasts and having a hell of a good time?" This Arthur Kirkland was a weird one. He acted like a creepy old man but he himself didn't appear old, rather like in his early twenties.

Arthur would have loved to supervise the investigations a little bit longer but he was soon forced to sit down by an officer. "Please stop moving around the crime scene. You do know that you're the main suspect, right?"

Arthur shot the officer an icy glare. "What do you mean by that? I have nothing to do with all this. Anyway, make sure you find my painting."

"About that...what exactly had been stolen from your collection?"

Arthur sighed, falling into deep grief once again. Thinking about his stolen painting made him sad, it was as if a lover had been taken away from him. Only that this was a worse scenario than a stolen lover.

"It's a painting from the Italian artist Caravaggio, portraying the mythological character Narcissus looking at his own reflection. And I want it back!" With finality in in his voice he leant back against his chair and sipped more of his tea.

The officer was unable to cope with this strange man, such a difficult character to handle. So he hoped that Matthew would be here quickly.

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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by Guest on Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:33 pm

Alfred and Matthew slammed the car doors at the same time, whistling their approval in unison as they laid their eyes on the mansion in front of them. The area around the aristocratic estate, located about a two-hour drive north of New York City, was a desolate forest with enough vegetation to swallow the building whole in a sea of green. It was a world away from what they called their respective homes: boxed apartments probably built by conglomerates with only enough artistry to think of dollar-green.

“So, what do you think?” Matthew broke the silence first, walking around the car to the trunk where he hid Alfred’s disguise for missions such as this. It was, after all, imperative that no one know alias America was his brother, especially since his brother was a famous comic book author, well-situated in the crime and mystery genre. Matthew’s brows furrowed when he noted a dry ketchup stain on the WWII bomber jacket. Alfred, always messy.

“Man,” Alfred breathed out, shielding his eyes from the sun with one of his hands, “that thief—“

“—and murderer,” Matthew added in, handing Alfred a pair of dark aviator shades, along with the jacket.

It was definitely too hot to wear heavy leather, but Alfred donned it anyway, reaching into his pocket for a very-fake-looking, curly Italian mustache. He rolled the ends with his fingertips. “Uh-huh, yeah, murderer with a great attention to detail—if this wasn’t all gruesome and stuff, I’d be totally flattered. It’s like fanart in the real world or something… Man, I gotta tell Kiku.”

“Don’t say morbid stuff like that,” Matthew frowned, well-accustomed to his brother’s apparent lack of tact… and inability to read the atmosphere. Only Alfred could view something so horrible through the magical lenses of an excitable child—a mystery to solve, something out of a comic book, and not just any comic book, but a comic book he helped to create. “In fact, don’t even mention to the guys, no, to anyone, that it’s just like your comic—I mean, Alfred’s comic—until this whole thing blows over. Last thing I need is my best assistant behind bars, huh?”

“Yeah, sure.” Alfred grinned, the mustache curling unnaturally near his lips, “you know, you worry too much, Mattie.”

Matthew huffed as they walked in. And then quickly yearned to leave: Matthew shocked by the details of the crime, and Alfred completely floored by one simple fact… he was certain he knew the man with the bushy-brows.

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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by King of Spades on Sat Aug 06, 2011 5:19 am

The door opened and two young men entered, both looking similar to each other. Arthur, who had been sitting by the tea table the whole time, turned his head to glare at the new arrivals, naturally with his prominent eyebrows pulled together menacingly. "Who are these teenies, officer? And what are they doing in my house?"

"Now will you bring that unsightly corpse out of my house, it had ruined my precious carpet just enough!" He snapped at a random, unsuspecting policeman.

"Please watch your language, Mr Kirkland! I wouldn't be too impolite, considering the situation that you're our main suspect."

Arthur wanted to talk back and repeat the very same words to defend himself, that he had nothing to do with all this and that it could hardly be his fault that there was a dead man by his bed come morning, but the officer cut him off before he even had a chance to speak.

"There's a body in your bedroom, Mr Kirkland. There haven't been any traces of housebreaking and no other fingerprints other than yours. Your stolen painting is irrelevant."

"How dare you say my painting is irrelevant!" Arthur shot up and stood in front of the offending officer, looking ready to tackle the other.

"A-anyway...I'd like you to meet Matthew Williams..."
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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by Guest on Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:18 am

"Uh, hello, Mr. Kirkland," Matthew wiped his sweaty hand over his pants before extending it out to the aristocratic looking Brit. "I'm Inspector Matthew Williams with the New York City Police Department, and this," he paused, "this is--"

"Honorary Inspector America; call me 'Meri," Alfred interrupted his brother, already turning away from Mr. Kirkland with a brush of his shoulder. His eyes wandered over the area, fixating on an awkward statue of a nun, an area that many police officers seemed to be purposely avoiding. He wondered why, walking over as he tapped his chin. And then, almost faltered when the mustache began to slide down over his lips.

He jumped so suddenly and quickly that he almost knocked the statue over, but recovered, putting it back in its place.

Matthew's head doubled, and he bit his bottom lip, unsure of how to proceed, "sorry 'bout him; he's not usually that rude, or that clumsy either. N--now then, Mr. Kirkland, I'm just gonna have to take a bit more of your time and ask you a few questions. I hope that's okay--"

"--Woah! Did ya'll get a good look over here?" Alfred's voice interrupted Matthew, who turned around only to find that his brother was crawling around the floor on all fours, reaching behind the naked nun statue. His mustache was slowly peeling off his face again.

A few police officers rushed over, explaining in rushed voices that they had already searched the area, but had been kept away from the nun statue by the angry owner.

"Al--America! Get away from there!" Matthew was ready to apologize, especially given how red and furrowed the Brit's forehead was becoming, but then he tensed up when he heard his brother's voice again.

"You have rats in your house?" Alfred turned towards Mr. Kirkland, still on his hands and knees. The mustache had completely disappeared now, leaving behind a clear view of a smirk. "Or do you just make holes on expensive statues for fun?"

Matthew face-palmed. Well, the mustache was going to be hard to explain.

Aware of everyone's eyes on him, America looking down, immediately grabbing the mustache and slapping it on his face again before turning back to the statue. "Haha, let's just pretend we didn't see that Inspector America has a facial hair problem, yeah? Yeah, so, back to the hole, then!"

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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by King of Spades on Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:12 pm

The first impression was, Inspector Matthew William was nice enough, had good manners and didn't seem to be too much of a trouble. His...companion however, and Arthur had to frown at the appearance of said man, was a walking fashion criminal. Well, it wasn't like Arthur's the fashion expert, leave matters like that to Francis Bonnefoy, but he really appreciated a person's aesthetic appearance. That mustache however was a no-go.

And Arthur was just about to be cooperative towards Matthew, after all he had asked nicely, though that America (strange name, he felt like it was the Cold War all over again) decided to sniff around his Bernini statue. "How dare you! Don't touch it!" His breathing came out short and he exhaled through his nose frantically.

"The hole has been there even before I had purchased it from an Italian auction. It was either carved into it by Bernini himself or it was done afterwards by someone else, I don't know, and-"

Then America's mustache somehow magically dropped off. Arthur stared at him as everybody else were also staring at him.

"You don't groom your mustache perfectly, now do you? I may recommend one of my favourite conditioners, which I've been using to keep my eyebrows in top shape. But to be honest, you look much better without that mustache. It's ugly. Ah- and about that hole, feel free to look into it- but oh wait, let me do it. I don't want you to damage my treasure."

So Arthur went over to join America, grabbing a pair of gloves that he'd been regularly using to touch his collections on the way. With gloved hands he slowly began to fumble around the hole, giving the police a smug smirk as there was nothing inside of it. That was until he felt something cut through the glove and into his flesh. He hissed and hastily withdrew his hand out of the hole. "What the..."

Something was glinting inside the dark hole and Arthur's fingers were bleeding. Though something was off. There was too much blood.

An investigator pulled the object out of the hole, revealing a blood-soaked butcher knife.

Arthur's eyes widened in horror.

"This can't be..." he gasped.
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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by Guest on Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:01 am

The mustache was ugly? Of course he knew that! Why else bother to buy an ugly mustache to take away attention from the rest of his face if it wasn't going to be, well, ugly?

But he didn't comment on that. Instead, he watched carefully as Arthur knelt down, practically crawling behind his statue with a pair of plastic gloves. And then, well, he had expected the knife, and the blood, and the reaction, but he surely hadn't expected:

"Quick! Arrest that man!"

Alfred turned to Matthew, who seemed too shocked to do anything other than gawk at the Brit, much less tell his men to back down.

"Uh, wait!" Alfred interrupted, clearing his throat as he tried to shake his brother awake. "Matt!"

"Huh? OH! Hold it everyone!"

Alfred let out a sigh of relief, watching as the police officers let go of Mr. Kirkland. The deputy, and a few other officers turned to look at him suspiciously. All he could do was give them a smile, all while trying to hold his mustache in place, which made for a particularly awkward situation. His lips felt sticky, and bitter, probably from the mustache glue.

Why was the room so hot?

"Right then!" Alfred continued, grabbing an evidence bag as moved over to Mr. Kirkland and took the knife from him, turning the bag inside out to keep the evidence tightly in place. "Now, this obviously looks real suspicious, everyone, but remember that if things were always this easy, and if incriminating evidence always appeared in the hands of the criminal, well, there'd be no need for people like us! - So, at least now we have some substantial evidence. I mean, I'm not saying Mr. Kirkland's innocent, because, actually, I don't think he is..."

The police officers near Arthur seemed almost ready to apprehend him.

"Woah, down fellas... just saying that Mr. Kirkland might be very helpful because I think he might know or work with the killer, you know? -- We've got our work cut out for us. And that means contacting some security personnel for Mr. Kirkland here, pronto. Like, faster than McDonalds brings out an order." He paused, beginning to talk to himself as he slowly made rounds around the room, looking out for more possible evidence. "Whoever committed this crime is probably watching us as we speak... and now that we've made Kirkland his main target as the only possible person that could know something big, he or she is sure to come after him in no time. All we have to do is wait..."

"And then we'll catch him?" Matthew asked sheepishly, standing behind his brother. Alfred jumped.

Alfred shrugged, "maybe. I don't really know. But it sounds good, huh?"

Matthew facepalmed, face red, "GET IT TOGETHER! THIS ISN'T A COMIC!"

"Woah, calm down, Mattie!" Alfred chuckled, patting his poor brother.

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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by King of Spades on Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:40 am

For the first time Arthur was afraid.

He had been indifferent the whole time, because, what was a dead stranger anyway? The lost painting was so much more important than another pest disappearing in this world. But now he finally realised in which situation he was caught. The shout to arrest him made him flinch against his will, both shoulders and hands were trembling.

Wide eyed he watched the scene before him, how America talked and prevented his life in jail. Laying his hand over his heart he could feel how it was racing and trying to pop out. "It...it wasn't me..." he whispered in a shaky voice.

How in the world could he prove that it wasn't him? Arthur bit on his lower lip and thought. But the more he thought about how to haul himself out of suspicion, the more he was thinking about the odds of this case. A dead body of a person he didn't know by his bed, a stolen painting. Was it common robbery? Perhaps there were two burglars and they had ended up fighting? Even that didn't really make sense because why didn't Arthur wake up? He wasn't a particularly deep sleeper.
Nothing was right in this scenario.

Clearing his throat and calming his appearance, he raised his voice. "Doesn't anybody even think about my safety?" Arthur huffed. "A man was killed in my room and isn't it obvious that I'm in danger?" Right, why didn't anybody consider him as the victim?

"W-what if the murderer decided to come back?"
Even Arthur started to believe that, in fact, something like that could happen. Fear surged up in his chest and tightened. The whole mansion was full with valuable artworks and the fact that someone was able to break into the house without leaving any trace or setting off the fully equipped alarm was very much unsettling.

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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:21 pm

”It wasn’t me…”

Alfred hummed, nodding lightly as he laid a firm hand on top of Kirkland’s shoulder, feeling the way the muscles tensed and snapped underneath his fingers. Yeah, poor guy was tense, and with good reason, too.

“Of course it wasn’t you,” Alfred answered the shaky whisper, “or, at least I don’t think so anyway. Not for now. Like I said, I think you were framed, probably by someone you know—someone that knew you had that painting, a weakness for, uh, sleeping around with random strangers—no offense! And, yeah, someone that even as we speak could be looking in at all of us.”

Everyone around him seemed to flinch at that, scanning the room with their respective eyes and with great suspicion.

”Doesn’t anybody even think about my safety? What if the murdered decided to come back?”

“Not if!” Alfred interrupted, a crazed sparkle in his blue eyes as he began to pace the room. Matthew trotted next to him, holding his wavering mustache flat against his brother’s face. “When!”

“Mind not scaring my suspects?” Matthew huffed, “Oh sweet maple, stop moving around…!”

“Dude, that’s not a suspect right now,” he pointed at Kirkland, a smirk on his face, “that’s a witness!—Or an unwitting accomplice. Whatever. Let’s not get technical. The murderer knows we’re here. He’s gonna come back – I can just feel it, Mattie! So all we need is someone to stay here with Mr. Kirkland ‘til he does… so, who’s down until we can get some guys from the Fed? C’me on, don’t be shy, raise your hand and be a hero!”—But there was only silence.

A random police office pressed a finger to his nose, “nose game. Not it!”

Alfred blinked, confused, “huh?”

“Seems like Detective America there’s it,” another called out with a chuckle.

“Oh no. No, no way. You know I have a full-time job… Mattie, no, don’t even give me those eyes. We’re not five, you no longer have the polar bear to cover your face, no, it ain’t cute and it won’t work. No… oh, damn it. I have work!”

“You can stay with me for the night, though, right?” Matthew asked politely, looking at his twin with begging eyes, “Just to lay ground work…?”

What kind of brother would he be if he just left his twin with a possible murderer just because Alfred thought the possible murderer couldn’t possibly be a murderer because murderers weren’t usually hot and antisocial outside of like really cheesy movies or—wait… wait, what?!

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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by King of Spades on Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:15 am

Arthur was really starting to have this little hunch that America was actually having fun in this situation. The way he was explaining his deductions, he looked like he was having the time of his life, grinning around like a child in excitement. Somehow it irked him. Here he was at a serious pinch while some kid was amusing himself with this case.

But Arthur was listening to America's every word, trying to comprehend and reconstruct everything in his head. The more he thought about it, it didn't seem to be the work of some random burglar; it looked more and more like a systematically planned crime. Maybe a nameless man was sacrificed to create a fog that blurred one's vision of the actual crime scenario. To make it more complex and...diffuse.

So, America was probably right. The culprit was perhaps going to return to his house, because Caravaggio's 'Narcissus' was only a clue to something much bigger.

The second clue was still in Arthur's mansion.

That was his little secret though.

The culprit was most likely trying to distance Arthur from his own home, because unlike the Caravaggio painting, the nature and shape of the second clue wasn't obvious. Which meant that it would require more time, a span of hours, days or months, in the mansion. But Arthur Kirkland, the anti social, was rarely out. So jail would have been convenient.

Arthur was startled out of his musing as it was suddenly decided that America was going to stay. Interesting.

"I agree!" Of course everybody went silent, giving him surprised stares. "I agree to have America here! In fact, I won't take any other!"

There were so many questions he wanted to ask. Like the abnormal knowledge that America possessed, information he couldn't have known. For example about Arthur's occasional male pick ups. Or about his assumption that the culprit was going to come back. It was as if he'd seen the exact same or a similar situation before. Odd.

Besides, he felt safer if he was with America. For unknown reasons.

"Thanks for staying," he sheepishly said when they were alone. He couldn't keep his grumpy attitude forever; after all it was the first in a long time where he had a guest in his house. So he allowed himself to smile.

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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:34 am

“Uh, sure,” Alfred smiled, shrugging as they walked down one of the many hallways of Arthur’s house—together, almost in sync.


It was nice seeing the Brit more collected and at ease with him; he’d been worried that he’d have to deal with some antisocial jerk the entire night, though Alfred knew better. He’d met Arthur once before, well, barely, but it had been enough—Arthur loved art, and so did Alfred. They had become acquaintances for an evening during a rare art exhibit in London for an up-and-coming modern painter: Arthur was a friend of the gallery owner, and Alfred had gone to college with the artist. Obviously, Arthur had forgotten all about him. To be honest, so had Alfred, until he had felt a sense of déjà vu seeing the Brit again when he walked into the mansion.


Maybe it was for the best.


Alfred had told too many lies that night, including that he was a rich art collector from America only in England for a few days, but Alfred had been very nervous that night gliding through the collection with a real art connoisseur: being a famous comic book author had paled in comparison to Arthur’s blue-blood and strawberry-leaves-crown background. But having Arthur’s grumpy attitude peel away, well, it reminded him of that night. And he could feel his stomach pulsating with nerves.


“So, what, uh, what made you okay with me staying?” he flinched when his arm bumped into the other male’s elbow. “I mean, I’m sure you want to cooperate with the police and all, but I’m not a police officer, and I’m not trained. Just letting you know ‘cause I’m not trying to trick you.”


He shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans, his eyes scanning the many paintings in the house. Then, he stopped.

“Hey, is this a real Titian?” he asked, eyes wide in appreciation, albeit hidden behind the sunglasses he'd been wearing all day to hide his eyes. “Dude, that—that’s so badass! How’d you even manage to get one of these anyway? Gah, I never thought I’d see one of these outside of a museum!”

And then he furrowed his brows, stepping closer to the painting, until his nose barely touched over the paint. Just because Arthur didn’t remember him didn’t mean Alfred couldn’t have some fun with him.

“Amazing. Rest on the Flight into Egypt, how awesome. So, you buy from the black market sometimes, huh?” – Just one of the few little secrets Arthur had let slip that one night after many shots of champagne.

After Arthur’s freak-out (during which he denied ever buying from criminals,) Alfred pulled his vibrating cell phone from his pants, remembering Kiku. Crap. He barely had enough battery. “Sorry, I gotta take this. It’s my partner.” Not his best choice of words. Arthur’s eyes widened in surprise. “Not like that! I mean, I have a small business and, yeah, my business partner, not like my bed partner, not that we haven’t shared a bed because we’re total best friends, but—oh geeze, why am I still talking to you? Excuse me!” and he ran down the other side of the hallway, flipping his phone open. “Kiku! Dude, I am so sorry I’m not home yet.” There was a long-pause, and Alfred could almost hear the twitch in Kiku’s eye from his voice. “Yeah, I know I promised… yeah, listen, I’m kind of stuck here for the night. Yeah, it’s fine. I’m okay with making that the last panel then. Twenty-one pages should be good. Thanks, man.” Absent-mindedly, and frustrated, Alfred ripped the annoying mustache from his face, taking off the god-awful sunglasses he’d been wearing even in the dim lighting of the room. He pressed his forehead against the wall. “Wait, someone stole what? Uh huh. Those art thieves. Yeah, I’ll see you in the morning. You can keep … damn it! Stupid battery!”

And that’s when he felt a tap on his shoulder, and he blinked, looking up to find Arthur looking at him like he’d just gone crazy. He slapped the mustache back on his face when he noticed he had it in his hand.

Wait a minute... a stolen painting taken from a room -- so the painting had been recently acquired? Like, maybe even new? Could it be that Arthur had slept with the delivery boy? A Caravaggio would be hard to buy outside of the black market. So Alfred already had a hunch that the thief would be back; someone had tried to frame Arthur; someone had killed a man, too easily. Alfred had read over the files. The man had been killed in bed, but not Arthur. The thief had not touched Arthur, so he just wanted him in jail, out of the house. But the position the man next to Arthur had been found in -- he had to have woken up! And not struggled! So he had known the thief...

The thief? He probably wasn't even a thief at all. He was probably the original owner of the painting and the delivery boy had been his unwitting partner and decoy and... Alfred was right. Arthur Kirkland was an unwitting accomplice. He had committed a crime by probably buying a painting from the black market from a guy that had actually owned the painting legally and had just used it as a way to attract Kirkland.

This was just too much like his comic. Damn it.

Alfred blinked. "Mr. Kirkland, I need you to show me your bedroom. I, uh, also need you to be honest. Like legit honest, Arthur: did you buy your painting from the black market?"

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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by King of Spades on Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:40 am

Hearing from America that he wasn't actually part of the police left Arthur unfazed, instead he merely shrugged indifferently. "I don't care, I don't want them in my house anyway. I believe you do understand art." He'd observed how the other moved around the mansion, the way he touched his collections to investigate; and he seemed to know what he was dealing with, that he wasn't only touching evidence but at the same time an artwork. Besides, there was a sense of familiarity that Arthur could somehow feel.

Though when America actually recognised the Titian painting, he still couldn't help but feel surprised. And he was a little bit in awe. The admiration stopped short at America's guess of his occasional business with the black market. Naturally, he denied everything, not wanting to ruin his reputation (what reputation).

But then America asked him directly about the stolen painting and Arthur didn’t expect that question that left him nervous and taken aback, nor did he comprehend the other’s intention to see his bedroom. Once again he wanted to deny any of the accusations but America looked at him through his glasses, signifying that he wasn’t going to take any bullshit. So Arthur sighed, and slowly he nodded. Biting his lips he pondered about the best way to explain everything.

“You see, I don’t go around merrily, purchasing artwork from the black market. In fact, I’ve been looking for the second and last clue to the greatest treasure of mankind. Nobody knows what it is, actually. Defining ‘great’ is a relative thing. It could be gold and all that glitters, at the same time it could be the gateway to wisdom. Who knows.” Arthur’s expression had turned dreamy, he was a man still determined to chase after the legends of his childhood.

“I don’t care what it is, all I want is to find the secret, to figure this whole madness out. It’s like an unfair puzzle, and the pieces just turned out to be really famous artworks,” he laughed. “So it was difficult to buy them in a completely legal way.”

Slowly, Arthur led America to the master bedroom, the scene of crime. He had to sleep in another room, so it seemed. “I am not the only one looking for this treasure, though each has his own motivation. Selling ‘Narcissus’ on the black market could have been an act to lure out the owner of the first clue who just happened to be me.”

Arthur hesitated. “The painting was delivered three days ago. I was still unable to decipher the secret of the painting; I couldn’t really find any text on the surface. And yesterday…” Arthur frowned. “I was reading and then the doorbell rang…and…I don’t remember.” It was only now that he realised, he really had no memories of last night. “I opened the door because the person looked familiar.”

He gasped for air. “The very same person who brought the painting. He was also the dead stranger by my bed. I don’t understand…” He didn’t recognise the victim, because to be honest he wasn’t very good with memorizing faces, except pretty faces.

“Why did you want to see my room anyway?”
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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by Guest on Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:31 pm

“Well, I need to see your bedroom to look for clues,” Alfred replied, shoved into shyness by the other’s sudden honesty, and, in part, also due to the growing curiosity gnawing at his brain: the greatest treasure the world had ever known, it was the stuff of childhood dreams. “I know the police was probably already in there to get the body out, but,” he paused, a strange dip in his stomach when he came to terms with the fact that it was quite likely he hadn’t been wrong about Arthur’s penchant for sleeping with random strangers, “but I’m sure they must have missed something, and I think, no, I know I can find whatever it is that can get them a step closer to the criminals… if, well, if it’s in there.”

Alfred was intrigued by the concept of treasure. He was eager to learn more, but as he followed behind Arthur and slowly peeled away the remaining mustache bits, the glue, and the sunglasses, he came to terms with the fact that to find out more about the treasure was, in itself, accepting an invitation to helping Arthur… if not, worse, and an invitation into becoming Arthur’s competition. So he forced himself to keep things in perspective: to help Arthur had to be synonymous with helping Mattie, which meant he had to get as much work done tonight as he possibly could, all in hopes of finding the criminals—and he wasn’t even sure he could do it. As familiar as the setup was to his comic, the details were fuzzy at best. He’d always loved puzzles, but he had little faith in his ability to solve them. And this is the biggest one, he reminded himself, mouth and throat dry.

Once they reached the door leading to Arthur’s room, Alfred paused, extending his arm out to prevent Arthur from touching the door knob. Already he was sure that the door had been tampered with by the police officers; he needed to recreate the scene of the crime. “Alright, here’s where I need your help,” he murmured, focusing his bright blue gaze on the door even as he addressed Arthur. Things would be a lot easier now without the disguise. “I need you to recreate everything exactly as you remember it: this involves whether the door was open or closed when you first woke up and found the body; the position of the body your, uh, one-night-stand was in—to make sure that I’m not wrong and that the murder wasn’t forceful, which would totally prove my theory that he was an accomplice; I’d also like to check for signs of forceful entry… you know, tampered windows, removed locks, whatever, so if you have, like, some freaky secret passageway in there, you have to let me know, got it? No secrets here. I need to see the scene of the crime as it happened; I need to know everything you know, Arthur.”

He looked up, meeting a surprised green gaze. “No secrets. None. Understood? – I,” he gulped, though soon he grew serious, “I need you to trust me. I want you to trust me, and I feel you do, but I don’t know what I’m really walking into here, and I’m gonna be totally honest with you, Arthur: I’m not really here to help you find some mystery and go on a wild treasure chase with you. I’m here to help my brother, and find the murderer… and maybe prevent him from hurting other people... and, yeah, so now you know, so you make that call, if knowing all I just told you, if you still want me here. And if you do, then open the door.”

And Alfred was sure Arthur would have opened the door. Maybe he was getting ready to shockingly gasp out that he knew who he was! – Or something equally impressive about art, or the great unknown treasure, or maybe he was going to curse at him and tell him to get the hell out… Maybe it was all of that combined into one giant speech.

But Alfred never got to hear any of it. Because just as Arthur was turning to face him, the sound of a woman’s piercing scream interrupted Arthur, sending them both into starts. There was little time to panic, much less to exchange words or fearful looks before above them, the ceiling started to crumble. Alfred toppled Arthur to the ground, trying to push him as far as possible to the corner of the hallway near the joints of the door where it seemed that the structure of the building was made of a stronger material, thus allowing them to suffer mere scrapes as tiny bits of left-over concrete slapped at their arms.

Once the smoke and fog had vanished, Alfred coughed into his arm, trying to scrape his voice back together. “A—are you alright?” he asked Arthur, releasing him from the awkward embrace.

He faintly heard Arthur respond. Still, all he had eyes for was the painting that had just fallen from the ceiling—full of scrapes, scratched down the middle, probably with a dagger if Alfred’s calculations were correct. Scraps of Narcissus’s face peeled away at the corners near the gashing dash, letting both of them peek at the fact that the canvas had been double-wrapped and behind the tinted inks had been something else, hidden, probably for years between the picture and the blank canvas. And now it was gone.

“… Hey, is that, uh, your painting?”

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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by King of Spades on Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:32 am

When Arthur had turned to face America, he was surprised to see him lacking his facial hair. So the hair could not be saved after all; not that Arthur minded. Upon closer inspection it felt like it wasn't their first time meeting.
"Do we...know each other?"

Arthur himself was swept away by the excitement apparent on the younger man's expression, to the point that his adventurous nature was once again brought to life. That was why he was deeply disappointed to know that the other was not interested in finding the treasure with him, that he was simply helping his brother. Nothing more and nothing less.

Sulkily, he turned his head away, not taking heed to America's rambling about trusting him. "How am I supposed to trust you if I don't even know your real name," he mumbled.

It was then that he felt the ground shake under his feet and the walls crack around him. Shocked and paralyzed he was unable to move as the ceiling crumbled, threatening to crush both men. He could barely recognise America grabbing him to dash to a safer place. Arthur squeezed his eyes shut and hid himself behind the protecting arms.

Only by the time the air was filled with an eerie silence did he dare to open his eyes and relax his body from the tension. The American asked him if he was okay, to which he replied with a numb nod.

However, he gasped at the sight of paintings scattered around on the ground. They were all insured and most weren't even that valuable, except for that one painting that he believed to have been stolen from him.

Two things crossed his mind and hurt his heart equally bad. The peeled off canvas and the damaged frame showed that something was kept behind the Caravaggio painting and it was gone. And then, the damaged artwork, destroyed in such brutal and careless way just to get to the hidden object. Arthur found himself sobbing for the lost treasure and for the destruction of a priceless piece of art, the delicate witness of a maestro's and a city's golden age.

And suddenly, he felt panic surge up, tightening in his throat. The sickening feeling drained the colour from his face. "The-the treasure. I should feel defeated because someone beat me to it...but that should be it. However, I also have this really bad feeling. That the treasure must not fall into the wrong hands."

Arthur wanted to slap himself. He was so dumb, he had failed to find out Narcissus' secret earlier. Looking at the destroyed painting, Rebecca's hint became so painfully obvious.

"America, please...we must stop this person. I have a bad feeling that something really awful is about to happen."

And as if on cue, the Bernini nun was standing in front of them, still made of marble and breasts exposed but her face no longer in lovely ecstasy but evilly distorted.

"Good God, what the hell...?!"
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That's one chatty statue... yay page 2!

Post by Guest on Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:04 am

“Don’t call me America,” Alfred extended out his hand for Arthur to shake, “Name’s Alfred. Alfred Jones. We, uh, met once before, I think. The details are a bit fuzzy; I won’t hold it against you if you don’t remember…”

At Arthur’s outburst, Alfred jumped.

“So, ahmm, so lovely,” the statue in front of the yawned, stretching her arms over her head, the creases of usually smooth rock now visible to Alfred’s observational eye, and for a moment he almost blushed when he came to terms with the fact that it was completely different to see a living nun statue bearing her breasts to the world, “really, quite lovely. But you boys both have more to worry about than about such nonsense as names—when you spend as much time as I do watching and listening to both men and women wander around you, well you come to think of names as simply arrangements on words, or boring patterns, sometimes senseless and at others not, though I do suppose it is all quite senseless to me as I don’t particularly have a name, you know? Oh, don’t look at me like that. A title isn’t a name.”

“I don’t think that’s why we’re really starting,” Alfred offered, chuckling to ease the tension in the room. Next to him, Arthur seemed frozen in place, mouth gaping.

She looked down at her breasts, unable to arch an eyebrow even with the new mobility of her body. She moved her hands, carefully encasing her upper body in the air with rounded motions, “Oh, there? What? Were neither of you breast-fed in your lives? Still virgins? Really, boys, like I said, things to really be concerned with… if you’re nice and listen, I won’t hold it against you if you poke them once I’m back to normal, but for now, perhaps one of you will be a gentleman and…”

Alfred beat her to the end, draping his jacket over her shoulders. She carefully reached for the lapels, making sure to cover herself carefully.

“Such a gentleman,” she cooed, perhaps a bit too flirty for Alfred’s own comfort. “Well, then, shall I explain?”

“Wait! Before you do – I need to examine the painting! And the room, too…”

“And then perhaps if you’re smart enough, you should ask me if I saw the criminal?”

Alfred blinked, “you mean, you saw his face?”

“Well,” she let a coy smile escape her lips, a tiny noise of chortled amusement leaving her throat, “perhaps. I mean, I am a very observant and still statue; a true piece of art, don’t you know.”

“Awesome!” Alfred pumped his fist in the air, “this might get resolved tonight after all!”

“Oh, don’t be silly,” she stared him down, returning to the prim manner he would have expected from a nun—a lady. “This is bigger than you and him,” she pointed at Arthur, “bigger than you, and certainly bigger than me. Not that I’m big. Don’t you dare say anything: my material adds stones to my weight.”

Alfred chuckled, nudging Arthur, “she’s funny! Get it, like stones, like the UK weight because she’s made from…”

But Arthur’s serious expression made him stop. “Right, I’ll just go check the painting then,” he coughed into his hand, slowly moving away.

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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

Post by King of Spades on Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:22 am

Why was Alfred, oh so that was his name, talking to the magically alive Bernini nun? Arthur thought it was more clever to pretend that she wasn't even there in order to maintain their own sanity. Fae and unicorn are logical but walking statues, that's where Arthur Kirkland drew the line.

"Have you been alive this whole time? Like...you've seen the most of my private bedroom life?" Arthur asked carefully; a foreboding bad feeling building up within him. "But you have never shown yourself in this form to me..."

The nun smirked, and suddenly Arthur realised how non-clerical she was. Damn artists. They were always playing out their sexual phantasies on their artworks, commission by the church or not. "The artist had given me a soul. That was the magic that artists of times long past possessed. Which is why, to answer your question, I've indeed seen everything going on in your room. I particularly enjoyed the one time you got fucked against me." Arthur blushed furiously.

"But," she continued, "It was only today where I was given the ability to become a walking creature. And while I really do love you two for being amusing in your own ways, I am in the end chained to obedience to my master. So, seek out my help while my cooperation lasts. As this is indeed about something big. Something that is touching God's realm; the embodiment of humans' strongest and oldest desire."

"So, while you're still being nice to us this very moment, you might end up attacking us the next second?"

She nodded.

"This bedroom is the most important venue of the story. The story of life and death that will end in a decisive showdown. And the main cast has gathered!" The nun clapped her hands in a playful glee. "You two and my master!" Her gaze locked onto Arthur and Alfred. "And none of you meet by coincidence! It is all by fate...or simply by a giant plot."

This was all too confusing. Arthur winced, feeling a bad migraine coming. "Alfred, what is she talking about? This sounds like a huge game with real life people and real life risks!"
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Re: What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be...

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