~ THE TALES OF KRIMSON MASK ~
~Once upon a time, there lived a third shift janitor toiling away in a dimly-lighted hallway of the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. With a yellow “Caution Wet Floor” stand, a pushcart of cleaning supplies, and pail of water being his only companions, Ronnie drowned the bristles of his mop in a soapy bucket near his boots and continued slopping the square-tiled floor with the cleaning utensil. It had been two hours since the janitor had started this incessant task. His mind had begun wandering a long time ago. As he continued with his lifeless chore, all the lonely janitor could think of was his miserable life that mainly consisted of sanitizer sprays, antiseptic water, and unflushed poopers. And if he wasn’t mopping the tiles, he could be doing some other miserable task. Like today for example. Some punk from last night’s rock concert decided to super-glue pictures of President Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice on several toilet seats in the men’s restroom. The guy also left a little memento in the unflushed toilet. Ah yes, the joys of custodial work. It will take hours to scrape that super-glue off. There’s so much to do already. What else can possibly go wrong?
All of a sudden, the fluorescent lights in the hallway abruptly shut off. Blinded by the darkness, Ronnie tries to walk over to his pushcart that supplies his artillery of cleaning sprays. He searches for a flashlight that he always has stashed away in the backside of the cart. Well, it was supposed to be stashed in the backside. While he searches his hand though the unseen cart, a pale sound is heard behind Ronnie. The janitor turns around and looks at where the source of reverberation was located, but his sight is blinded by darkness. Ronnie frantically searches once more for that flashlight, but to no avail. Another quick rattle echoes through the hallway behind Ronnie. He spins around only to be met with absence. Ronnie tightens his grip on the mop.
Ronnie: “Who’s there?”
A jingling sound echoes. This time the noise is closer than before. Ronnie clutches onto the wooden stick and wields his mop in front of him like it was a sword, guarding himself from the unseen rattle-maker. The wet bristles of the mop start trickling onto the floor tiles.
Ronnie: “Whoever you are, this isn’t very funny. Breaking an entrance is a serious crime.”
A maniacal belly laugh bounces off the concrete walls of the hallway. Ronnie’s pulsating heartbeat goes into overdrive. It beats louder, louder, and louder. Suddenly, a white light flashes with a smiling face illuminated by the light beam.
The hallway lights turn back on by aid of the man who’s smile beams in front of the flashlight. The man looks like he’s about to hyperventilate in laughter from his prank.
Buster: “HAHAHAHA! That was priceless. You look like you just saw a ghost.”
Ronnie: “Jesus Christ, Buster. What the hell is your problem?”
Buster: “HAHAHAHA! You should have seen the look on your face.”
Buster starts jingling his custodial keys that are clamped on his utility belt, taunting his boss from the sounds he heard. Ronnie’s pale white face changes to a bright red complexion.
Ronnie: “What is your damn problem? Don’t you know how much work we have to get done tonight? I’m busting my ass around here to get this building ready for the One Way Ticket pay-per-view tomorrow night and here you are, pulling shit like that.”
Buster: “Come on, boss. I’m just trying to ‘lighten’ the mood. Hee hee. BWAHAHAHAHA! Lighten the mood. Get it?!”
Buster begins flickering the flashlight on and off in front of his face while he resumes his own expressed amusement. Ronnie’s lips form into an irritated snarl.
Ronnie: “That’s it! Here! Take this!”
Ronnie hands the mop to Buster.
Buster: “What’s this?”
Ronnie: “It’s YOUR mop. You’re gonna make this floor so bright that I should be able to see the sunlight reflecting off Mr. Clean’s bald ass.”
Buster: “Hey, now wait a minute. It’s not my night to be doing the mopping. My night was Monday. Tonight is your night. And anyway, who says Mr. Clean has a bald ass. I was always thought…”
Ronnie: “CUT IT OUT! You just volunteered yourself. I got other crap to take care of around here. Now start mopping if you want to keep your job!”
Buster: “Alright alright. I’ll get going.”
Ronnie leaves to take care of the politic vandalism in the men’s restroom while Buster starts coating the floor with the soapy mop. Buster glances up in front of him and notices an isolate book that mysteriously sits in the middle of the hallway. Buster wonders why Ronnie didn’t pick it up when he was mopping earlier. Buster walks over to the book and reads the title page:
Buster: “Hey Ronnie. Did you see this?”
Buster awaits an answer, but it’s obvious that Ronnie has gone to the restroom with some Goo Gone and a scraper to ply off the super-glue from the toilet seats. Buster puts down his mop and goes over to pick up the diary. He peaks inside and begins to read:
What has happened to me? Where am I? Why can’t I remember what just happened to me? Everything seems like a blur to me right now. Whenever things would start to bug me, Mother would always tell me to write it down in a dieary. She said I would feel a lot better. There is so much in my head right now. Maybe if I write things down, then I can catch all these thoughts and remember what happened to me and Krimmy.
I gotta think. Where was I just at? Oh yeah, me and Krimson Mask were traveling to our next wrestling show in the forest. We were on our way to the land that King Thrushbeard told us to go. He even gave us a map so that we would not get lost. He said that if we went to this new territory, we would gain a big payoff that would make us as rich as kings. Some of the best wrestlers in the countryside were gonna be there. But I do not remember getting there. Why did we not get there?
I gotta keep thinking. What happened next? We were on our way in the forest, We were following the dirt path that the map told us to go down. I remember now. A little butterfly started flying in front of me. It looked so graceful with its orange and black wings with the pretty white speckled polka dots on its back. I wanted to catch it so I could pet it. Krimson Mask told me to stay on the path so that we would not get lost. But I did not care. I needed to catch that pretty butterfly. I ran and ran and ran through the woods, far away from the path on the map. I ran until I heard the sounds of flowing water swimming through the current just a little ways away. Krimson Mask kept yelling at me to come back. He shouted that the stream was a dangerous place to be, since it always attracted wicked creatures for a good frosty drink. But I did not worry. Krimmy could kill any beast that would get near me.
When I got to the edge of the riverbank, I saw the most beautiful creek I had ever seen. The stream was glistening with the sunlight that was bouncing off the water. It was so pretty. I looked around but I could not find the butterfly anymore. He must have got away. But then I saw a little fishy jump in the current. I love fishies. They always seem to be kissing something while they are swimming. It is so cute. It is like they want to make out with the water. I wanted to touch it, since I never ever had touched a fishy before. I ran along the riverbank in hopes that maybe I could grab the trout a little ways upstream where the river path was narrower. Sure enough The fishy began to have difficulty getting through that part of the river. That is when I got down on my knees and snagged it with both my arms. My plan worked. The fish flailed around in my arms. I tried petting it but my hands got all slimey. Gross. I dropped it back in the river. I hate fishies.
I went back to find where Krimson Mask was, but I could not find him. I started shouting in the forest. “Krimmy! Krimmy! Where are you?” But he would not say anything back. Where did he go? What had happened to him? He was right there just a few moments ago. I looked at the ground where I last saw him and noticed a lot of paw prints in the dirt.
Then I heard a horrible scream. It was so loud. My ears were ringing just like if I had a church bell chiming inside of my head.
I hurried over to where I heard the noise and saw Krimson Mask surrounded by a pack of Big Bad Wolves. Oh no. There must have been 20 of them. There was no way Krimmy could kill all of them. I tried to get a little closer to see what was going on. It looked like they had him tied up and were picking at his face. What were they doing to him? It did not look very nice. All of a sudden, one of the wolves began sniffing the air. He turned his head and looked straight at me. Oh dear, he had seen me. Krimmy seemed to sense that the wolf had seen me too and he shouted at me. “Run Little Red! Run as far, far away as possible”. I tried to run away as fast as my legs could go, But the wolf was too quick. He pounced on me and grinded his pointy teeth right in front of my face. “Please do not kill me Mister Big Bad Wolf” I said. IT was just like what happened to me when I was 6 years old and the Big Bad Wolf devoured me and Grandmother. Wait. I do not want to remember that. Whenever I think of that horrible day, bad things start to happen in my head. I need to stay calm.
Instead of eating me, this Big Bad Wolf just started to laugh at me. I did not know why he was not digesting me. Then I saw more Big Bad Wolves come up to surround me. Oh no. I was so scared. I started screaming as loud as I could. “Help me Krimmy! Help!” I heard Krimmy yelling back to me and then he screamed that horrible yell again. Then his yelling suddenly cut off. I did not hear his voice again. Then I heard some other voice, but this was like no sound a wolf would make. It was a man. He was laughing, but I could not see what he looked like. And then…and then… I can not remember.
What did they do to me? Did they hurt me? Did they rape me? How come there are no scars on me? Why is there nothing wrong with my body? And if nothing is wrong with me, why did they do that to Krimson Mask? Look at him! How come his face was mutilated like that? Why are his eyelids and lips stitched to his mask? Did they slice off his tongue? Who was that man I could not see? Why did the wolves not devour him? Who would have known we were in that part of the woods? Now I do not even know where we are. Why does nothing look familiar around here? Are we lost? Why does nothing make any sense to me? Aaaaaaahhh! There are so many questions in my brain. I’m beginning to get a little dizzy right now. Oh no. I can not help it now. My head is beginning to spin like a merry-go-round. It keeps going around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around. WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! It will not end! Oh no. Its going faster now. A lot faster. Wait, someone make it stop. Stop it! It feels like my brain is gonna fly out off my skull. No! No! Nooooooooooo! MAKE IT STOP! Somebody please! HELP ME! Stop the spinning inside my head! Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh! I am gonna throw up. Hee Hee Hee Hee Hee!
Buster turns the next page and pulls out a stained map that is unreadable. He sniffs the tarnished piece of paper and inhales a reeking vomit odor. The smell is so bad that Buster nearly gags in the hallway. He quickly takes the tarnished map and tosses it into a nearby trash can. He continues to read:
Are we there yet? Right now me and Krimson Mask are walking through the woods. We have been walking for days not knowing where we are. I think we are lost. Nothing looks familiar around here. I just wish I had not thrown up all over our map. Then maybe I could still read it and know where we are going. It was all my fault. If I had only stayed on the path like Krimson Mask told me to, none of this would have happened.
Usually I know exactly where we are in the forest. But not here. Nothing is where it should be. I do not like it here. I am sick of this place, wherever it is. I do not even care about that wrestling show anymore. I do not need to be as rich as a king. I just wanna go back to Grandmothers house. I want to see her again. I just wanna go to her house where I will be safe again. I can see Grandmother again and we can eat cake, drink wine, and be merry. I just want to live happily ever after.
But I do not know where Grandmothers house even is right now. Usually Grandmothers house is past the windmill and under three large oak trees with a couple of nut trees just below that. But there is no windmill, or oak trees, or even one noticeable nut tree anywhere around here. Now that I think about it, I have not seen anyone that I recognize either. I have not even seen my older brother around here, and he lives in the forest. He usually would have been a jerk and shot an arrow at Krimmy just to play games. But that has not even happened. Things are not adding up. Maybe we are in some kind of different world. But how could that be? If I could just remember what happened on that one horrible day.
I just feel so sorry for Krimson Mask. After he slayed the Big Bad Wolf when I was 6, he promised to Grandmother that he would protect me for the rest of his life. All he got in exchange for his life service was some kind of gift from Grandmother. I always wondered what kind of gift it was. If I was in his boots, I would have asked Grandmother for some gingerbread cookies. Mmmmmmm. And by some, I mean a whole lot of them.
Krimson Mask never got any gingerbread cookies though. I do not why. He missed out on that one. Krimmy never told me what he got though. He sure will never tell me now that he is missing a tongue. I guess the gingerbread cookies would not do any good now. But yet, something has changed with Krimson Mask ever since that one day with the nasty pack of wolves.
I do not know how it happened. Ever since Krimson Mask lost his eyes and tongue, I thought I would have to protect him. But that is not the case at all. It seems like his other senses have become…better. It is like he has this sixth sense where he just knows where something is. I do not understand. It is like he can just sniff the air and he instantly knows where everything is. I wonder how he does it.
Ronnie comes back into the hallway to see the progress of Buster’s work.
Ronnie: “What the hell is this? You’re reading a freakin’ book!”
Buster: “Did you see this thing? This book was on the ground just a few yards away from you when you were mopping earlier.”
Ronnie: “There you go again. You’re always lying through your yellow teeth. I know there was no stupid book there while I was moppin’.”
Buster: “It was too there. How didn’t you see it?”
Ronnie: “I’m not playing your games anymore. I’ll be back in ten minutes. If the floor isn’t good, then you may be joinin’ the unemployment line!”
Buster puts down the book and begins to clean the floor again. As soon as the coast is clear, Buster quickly picks up the diary and begins reading again, this time while attempting to mop:
After all our walking in the forest, me and Krimson Mask agreed that we both were very very very hungry.
I took out some bowls, ingredients, and my cookbook out of my wooden basket. I was gonna make a picnic. I poured some water from a nearby river into the bowl while stirring the ingredients. I was gonna make some delicious porridge. The first porridge I poured was too hot, the second porridge was too cold, and the third porridge was just right. Krimson Mask took his usual hiding spot behind a large maple tree. After a few moments, we saw a family of bears walk near the meal. However, they did not go by the bowls of porridge. Instead, they walked away from it, not even recognizing the tasty meal. I do not understand. Bears love porridge. What is wrong with these bears? I walked right up to them and asked Mr. Father Bear, “Why did you not eat the porridge I made you? Surely you are your loved ones are starving from a hard days work”. I was expecting a fairly reasonably excuse. After all, bears are very hard workers and appreciate a good free meal. Instead, the father bears response was:
I was insulted. He could have just told me that he and his family had already eaten. That would have been nice. But no. He had to roar at me. Too bad for Father bear, he was standing right in our trap. Krimson Mask leapt out of his hiding spot right in front of the family and hacked off the heads of the father bear, the mother bear, and the baby bear. Blood burst out of their necks as their heads fell to the ground. Krimmy took all their heads and poured their blood onto his face while I cut up the remains. We both agreed.
The bears tasted delicious. Hee hee hee hee burp.
The lump in Buster’s throat jumps a little after reading the previous lines. All of a sudden, the triple stacker he ate from Burger King an hour ago doesn’t seem to sit well in his stomach.
I was right. We are in a land far, far away from home. Me and Krimson Mask were walking through the woods and we heard a strange sound. We ran to the spot we heard the noise. The noise was gone, but what we found was unbelievable. We found a trail, but it was like no kind trail I had ever seen before. There was no dirt on this path. Instead it was a paved black trail with little yellow lines on it. I touched it and it felt as hard as brick. The trees were divided by this weird road. The surface seemed to stretch for miles and miles and miles.
Then we heard that sound again coming towards us. I thought it was the fiery breathing of a dragon. We scattered toward the trees to hide from it. Instead of a dragon, we saw some kind of strange object speeding by. Just like that, it was gone faster than a lighting bolt hitting the wings of a hummingbird. The object looked like some kind of metal wagon, but horsies were not strapped in front of it. I do not know how this bizarre carriage could move without any horsies. Were there horsies inside it to make it move so fast? Probably not, since the horsies would not be able to fit in the object. Then I thought it could be little elves hiding in there to make it move? But no elf that I know could ever move as fast as that though. We stayed a little longer and noticed several more of these things whoosh by, each looking different than the one before it. It is like these carriages move by magic.
You know what I think? I think someone in this new world knows how we got here. It had to be by magic. Someone has answers to our past and how we can get back home. And you know what? We’re gonna find that person, and they better have the right answers. I don’t care if we have to kill every single man, woman, or beast to do it. Hee hee hee hee hee. Have a Good night Dieary.
Buster makes sure Ronnie is nowhere around and continues reading.
Last night, a man came up to me in the woods while I smelled the most beautiful dandelions I had ever seen. I asked him for directions to Grandmothers house. He said he knew the way, but of course he did not. He tried to play me, but I learned my lesson a long time ago what to do when strangers talk to me. He said he was gonna devour me like the Big Bad Wolf. Hee hee hee hee hee. That is until Krimson Mask chopped off his wood. He was the fourth Big Bad Boy this week that Krimson Mask had to kill for me. The men in this world are all the same. After they see me, they all say that they know the way. But none of them do. None of them will. They will all die. Hee hee hee hee hee.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you! Krimmy found something the other day after he killed a Big Bad Boy in one of those strange wagons without horses. In it was a scroll of paper with writing on it. It said that a certain important person was coming to town for the week. Her name is Cher. She is called a general manager. She is like a queen of a wrestling promotion named the Psychotic Wrestling Alliance. The paper said that in this land called the PWA, they have wizards, and dream masters, and vampires, and all sorts of crazy people. This queen is in charge of all of them. You know what I think? I think We are gonna meet this woman named Cher. Certainly she must have answers for me and Krimmy.
Buster pulls out a bloody newspaper article out of the diary that reads “PWA Superstar Coming To Town”. The clipping is an article about Cher visiting a local underground wrestling event while she was on vacation during Pyromania 8.1.
Today we introduced ourselves to Cher. She was scared when we first met her. I do not know why. It was like she had never seen the bloody torso of a grown man sliced off his body as his intestines dangled out before. Hmmmm. I wonder what is wrong with this lady named Cher. I guess we helped her out from a little bind she was in. She was very grateful. I told her that we wanted to join her kingdoms promotion called Pyromania. I am sure that someone in the PWA knows how we can get back to our homeland so that I can see Grandmother again. I just know it. Cher said that she could help us out. I am not sure if she is telling the truth. If she is, maybe I can finally get back home from this horrible world and see Grandmother again. But if she is not telling me the truth, Krimson Mask can always kill her later. Hee hee hee hee hee.
Buster pages through more pages and sees tons more pages of writing. Knowing that his boss may come in at any moment now, he skips through the rest of it and decides to read the last entry.
Today me and Krimmy are getting ready for our One Way Ticket match against Skittles for tomorrow night. Skittles is my best friend. Well not yet, but he will be. It is gonna be so much fun for me and Krimmy when we play with him in the ring. I can not wait. For weeks I have been trying to find him in the arenas, but he always seems to be playing Hide and Seek. I can not ever find him. I can not believe how good he is at that game. The Paper Boner Men are really good at finding him though. I should ask them how they do it cause I am no good at it.
As soon as we find Skittles in the ring, Krimson Mask is gonna grab him and give him a big hug from me. We do that cause I what best friends do. Krimmy will squeeze him really really really tightly with his tree trunk like arms. Skittles eyes will bulge out of his skull like he was a suffocating froggie. Then after that, Krimmy will tug at his hair and drag him to me. I will take out my comb and braid his hair just like I braid the hair on all my dollies. He will look so cute with pigtails. Then I can give Skittles the Cinderella dress I thought he would look perfect in. I wanted to go shopping with him so I could find the right size for him, but he was too busy playing Hide and Seek. That is okay though. We will fit that dress on him at One Way Ticket. Ooh I can not wait. And then when we are done we take pictures together of all the fun times we had together at One Way Ticket. I hope Skittles does not mind if I give him bunny ears.
But we have nothing to do till we play with Skittles at One Way Ticket. I am soooooooooo bored right now. Instead of waiting, I decided to play a new game. I call it Dear Dieary. This is how you play. You get one person to play along. What they do is look inside a book, just like this one. The person also has to be all alone with no one around for it to work really well. Then they are killed. But before they die, you have to write something scary, just like this.
Krimson Mask is here kill you Buster.
Buster drops the diary instantly after reading the last line. His heart begins pounding so hard that he thinks it’ll break through his chest. He stumbles backward and trips over the water bucket that was nearby, sending water all over the floor. He doesn’t believe what he just read. He takes the book again and looks inside to see if it really is real.[/i]
At first they usually do not believe it, but that is whats so fun about this game. When they finally realize that this is real, their heart will start beating really really really fast. Then they have to hear a scary sound like me laughing. Hee hee hee hee hee.
A horrible girly laughter is heard bouncing off the walls of the abandoned hallway.
Little Red: “Hee hee hee hee hee.”
This is fun, huh Buster? Thank you for talking to Ronnie for so long while I wrote this last part. You were perfect for this game. It is too bad you cannot play again though. You have to die now, just like Skittles will die tonight at One Way Ticket if he does not be my friend. Hee hee hee hee hee.
Buster: RONNIE! WHERE ARE YOU?”
Buster shuts the diary and throws it away. He runs to the restroom and bursts open the door. He sees Ronnie’s legs underneath the stainless steal wall slabs near the toilet. He opens the door.
Buster: “RONNIE. WE GOTTA GET OUTTA…AWWWWW!”
Buster looks inside and sees Ronnie’s decapitated head floating in the toilet, separated from his body. Blood covers the entire area. Buster pukes from the hideous sight. Little Red’s voice echoes in the tiled room.
Little Red: “Where are you Buster?”
Buster: “GET AWAY FROM ME!”
He turns to run out of the restroom when a swinging axe dissects his head from the rest of his body. The force of the blow rockets Buster’s head off his body, leaving a comet trail of blood flying behind. The flying head crashes against a nearby wall with a rumbling thud. Krimson Mask sickeningly groans as he trudges over to the bleeding head. He grabs it by the hair and pours the gushing blood over his face. Red Riding Hood skips into the scene with a feather pen in hand. She picks up her diary and opens to the last page.
If Skittles will not be my friend, he will meet the same fate as my friends Ronnie and Buster. I hope he will my best friend forever and ever and ever. Or else Skittles divided body will live happily ever after in a casket, compliments of Krimson Mask. Hee hee hee hee hee.