A/N: This chap may be a bit awkward, I wrote the first half without thinking there was going to be a second half, and then I had to combine them. So if the flow's a bit off, that's probably why.
Since Psychosis and Heartbreak no longer stood in his way, Alex continued on to where he could still hear singing.
Honestly, he was a bit shaken. Heartbreak didn't scare him, there was honestly an uncomfortable familiarity between the two of them.
But Psychosis…there was more to Psychosis than the clear eyes or the pointed teeth, both of which were scary. But there was madness in Psychosis, oozing out of him.
Alex should have just figured that from the name.
But he had a feeling that wasn't the last time he would be encountering Psycho (as Alex decided to call him).
Alex was kind of freaked out by the forest—mainly because he was starting to realize that about half of the trees were made of internal organs. The other half appeared to just be made of shadow. But the organ trees were horrifying, and he accidentally brushed up against one, which had him screaming and wanting to get whatever slime was on his hand off.
He tried wiping it on his pants (funny, he didn't remember having pants…), but it stayed. He also tried rubbing it off on one of the shadow trees, but his hand passed right through it.
He could only think of one thing (because Jesus he wanted to get it off, it was giving him a fucking panic attack to feel organ-snot or whatever).
He grimaced, not looking forward to what he had to do, and licked it off of his hand.
It tasted horrible. Like blood, but with the consistency of phlegm. He fell to his knees and started puking his guts out, he just couldn't handle it.
He fell on his back (right through a shadow tree), and starting breathing heavily. He had almost completely forgotten what he planned on doing.
And then he remembered—he was looking for the singing, which was as loud and happy as before. Except it didn't make Alex feel good, it just made him want to punch something really hard.
He pushed himself to his feet, feeling his legs burn again. They were starting to shake, and Alex thought that was just great. In addition to being dead and puking organ slime, his legs could give out in the most goddamn disturbing forest ever!
But they stayed under him, and he kept walking, hands firmly in his pockets. He eventually saw a clearing in which a bunch of people were gathered around a bonfire. They were still singing, smiling the whole way through—but the melody wasn't cheerful. Alex didn't recognize it, but it chilled him to the bone.
He wondered if these people were like Psycho and Heartbreak, or if they were like him—just innocent lost souls.
One of them looked up as Alex approached. It was a woman, with short Peto-Bismal hair and a huge smile plastered on her face.
"Hello, newcomer!" she said, standing up and rushing over to Alex, grabbing his hands. (People liked doing that. It made Alex uncomfortable)
"Hey," Alex said. He was starting to get filled with some sort of contact high from touching her, it felt like floating. It was amazing, pretty much what he imagined Heaven to be like
"You look sad. You shouldn't be! I'm Elation," she said.
Other people were starting to crowd around Alex, reaching out and touching him, making him feel almost like he could fly.
"Alex," he said, voice almost lost to the rushing in his ears and mind.
"You're still warm," one of the people touching Alex said. "You still feel alive."
Alex barely heard.
But Elation let go of his hands, and he started to come back down, disappointed at the sudden crash. He felt like himself again.
"Why're you sad, Alex?! You should be happy, you should always be happy, there is no sadness allowed here! Tell me why you've got darkness, and I will totally make it go away, pinkie swear!" Elation said, jumping.
Alex wanted to say 'because fuck you, that's why', but decided against it. She genuinely seemed to care.
"Well, for one thing, I'm dead," Alex said. "That's kind of a moodkiller."
"You'll get over it! You will so get over it! So, anyways, let me introduce everyone." She rattled off a bunch of names that Alex didn't pay attention to. "We're the Happy Folk. Do you want to join us?"
That was rather sudden and unexpected.
On some level, he really wanted to join them. That high Elation gave him was fucking beautiful, but on the other hand, he wasn't sure he wanted to be a happiness-junkie for all of eternity.
He still had things to explore. But maybe…
"Not right now. Maybe later, if other stuff doesn't work out. But thank you so much for the offer," Alex said.
Elation's face briefly fell into an expression that was the level of happiness of a little girl getting a pony for her birthday.
Then she smiled her mega-smile again.
"It was totally awesome to meet you, Alex!" she said.
"You too," Alex said, smiling at her.
As he turned to leave, she grabbed his arm. "One thing you should know, though."
"Okay, so don't, like, ever go near the hill. And if you do, totally don't go in the building. There is some ultra-bad juju coming from that place. It's like, some kind of horrible place, from what I hear. Kay, bye!" Elation said.
Alex walked until he was out of sight, then started running out of the forest. He couldn't take it a minute longer.
It seemed like that clearing was a Heaven of sorts. It didn't seem like much ever happened there, though.
There was still ash falling in the field, and Alex wondered if that was a full-time thing. As he walked, small pieces got caught in his hair.
The city didn't seem to be any closer as he walked, and his legs felt like someone was squeezing them. But he didn't want to stop.
He was genuinely terrified of what might happen if he stopped.
But as the city didn't seem to be coming any closer, the hill was somehow seeming to inch towards Alex with every step he took.
Alex was genuinely tempted to give up his quest and climb the hill, just to see what it was like. He knew Elation advised him against it, but 'bad juju' to her was probably like the news that everyone in the world was going to be gifted a hundred bucks to normal people.
He paused for a moment and looked up at the hill. He could see the building on the top more clearly. It looked multi-story and narrow, and if Alex squinted he could make out the words 'Hotel Bella Muerte' written in cursive right over the front door.
Beautiful death couldn't be so bad, could it?
He started to make for the hill, but he felt a hand at his shoulder and whipped around.
There was a man behind Alex, and probably the single most beautiful man that ever existed, too. Blonde haired and blue-eyed, classically handsome, and tall.
All that had Alex fixated on him—and then he noticed the wings. They were big and white, and he looked like the classic representation of…
"You're an angel," Alex said, falling to his knees, hoping that was proper etiquette for coming into contact with angels.
"No," the angel said. "I'm Angel."
"There's only one of you?" Alex asked, confused.
Angel nodded. "I don't have many jobs. One of my important ones is making sure that no lost souls ever venture into the Hotel. Things there can only end badly for you. People go in there and never come out. I know the city seems far, but just keep going, because anything is better than the 'beautiful death' promised up there."
During his last sentence, Angel had grabbed Alex by the shoulders and started shaking them. He obviously felt very strongly about whatever was in the Hotel, which creeped Alex out, because that guy was a frickin' angel. Alex decided that the city was alright.
But someone familiar appeared behind Angel.
"Leave the poor kid alone," Psychosis drawled, pulling Angel off of Alex. He smiled at Alex, exposing his scarily pointed teeth. "How's it hanging, sugar?"
Psychosis's sudden appearance once again unnerved Alex. If he kept popping up, Alex would have to never go into dark and/or quiet places for fear of getting the shit scared out of him.
"…I met Elation…" Alex said.
Psychosis laughed, holding Angel's arms down in an oppressive hug. "That dumb bitch? Lucky you."
Angel kicked at Psychosis. "Careful how you talk about my sister, demon."
"I liked her," Alex said. "She was a bit over-enthusiastic, but…I didn't mind."
"When I died—" Psychosis said, before a shouted 'no one cares' from Angel and another bout of struggling. "Shut up. When I died, she offered for me to join her little crew. I said 'sure, what the hell'. And then one day I ripped all of her lovely crew's throats out. With my teeth. I doubt she's ever forgiven me for that."
Psychosis laughed again, like it was so fucking hilarious that he killed a bunch of people.
But that wasn't what bothered Alex. What bothered Alex was the 'when I died'. He didn't think that any of the physical incarnations had died, he thought they were just…there.
"You died?" Alex asked, figuring that Psycho wouldn't give him a straight answer, but trying anyway.
"Aw, sugar….we're all dead here. Thought a smart little boy like you could figure that out."
"I'm fucking twenty-three, alright? I am not a kid," Alex said, annoyed.
"Oh, ain't that precious. Twenty-three." Psychosis laughed. "Bitch, I'm two thousand goddamn years old. You are a baby compared to me."
There's another question Alex has to ask. "How did you…become like you are?"
"That, sugar, is for you to find out," Psychosis said. "But this is all beside the point. Angel keeps people from heading up there because he hates people. He doesn't want them to know how sweet death can be. Everything you wanted to do in life, you can do up there. Sugar, c'mon."
Angel struggled and screamed a lot after the 'hates people' thing. "I don't! Dude, I'm a fucking angel. He's just crazy."
Alex considered for a moment. "Um, how about I head up there—" Psychosis perked up and released Angel, grabbing Alex's hands and jumping up and down, whilst Angel looked defeated. "Not done. I was gonna say I'll go to the Hotel after I've checked the city out."
Psychosis looked a bit crestfallen, but then smiled his vampiric smile again. "Great! We'll be waiting."
Then Psychosis blew Alex a kiss and disappeared.
Angel just looked disappointed as he disappeared into a column of golden light that faded almost instantaneously.
Alex went for the city again, confused about pretty much everything.
A/N: Once again, all feedback is appreciated.