- Amadeus Arkham (Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth)
Most of the time you're human, and most of the time she's troll. Things can get a little blurred this far out though, and these things aren't guaranteed. But you've learned to let it slide. It's never been worth it to get hung up on the small stuff.
Your name is Dave Strider. Hers is Aradia Megido. Sometimes you aren't certain of even that much. Again, you don't get too hung up on this. After all, in the end--in the beginning, in the middle, in the quiet voids without Time--it doesn't matter.
You are both the sum of your parts, and your parts have always been little more than the quiet ticking of gears.
Together, unspoken, you meet now and again. All it takes is the sharp squeal of a vinyl record, the tinny clink of a music box, the jagged scratch of a broken note, and you both appear together, like clockwork.
You nod at her. She nods back. Today--a useless word, for people like you--she's a washed out gray, ram horns chipped and scarred, her eyes blank white holes. You know without asking how this Aradia came to be, and why this Aradia chose to come instead of the thousand others that could have. It's the same with you. You're a Dave down one arm, dried blood crusting all the way down to your ankle. Good thing it was the right one and not the left; you can manage your records just fine with one hand, but it's always been harder to get the right precision you're used to with your non-dominant.
Both of you, any version of you, made the choice ages--another useless word--ago to meet up. Stars, planets, natural disasters. Any blip in the Timestreams that make you feel small. Reminds you that there are some things you just can't change.
Yeah, yeah, you know it's very some men just want to watch the world burn. In your defense, it was Aradia's idea. You won't deny it's worth though. Just look at you, a doomed Dave who bled out after trying to save a kid from a bad car wreck in Bangladesh. For whatever reason, you died, the kid died, and a bonus three people were put in the hospital.
Shit like that makes a guy realize he can't save everybody, no matter what.
Aradia touches your remaining hand, a gentle reminder to stop thinking and just watch the lightshow spread across the blackness of space. You hand twitches when Earth gets eaten up by fire and radiation, a little spark of glittering life.
Burnt-out lungs, parched eyes. Too hot to sweat, too dry to breathe.
You remind yourself--this is just another exploding star.
Your records and Aradia's crystal music boxes hum with the centuries speeding by. Takes a long time for a star to die.
When it's over, she hugs you, careful of your stump. "Thanks," you mutter. She smiles, all soft edges apart from the dried out hole above her left breast.
"We should go now," she says. "I believe we're needed elsewhere."
"Yeah, guess we are." Your records wobble, off-balance without both of your hands to steady them. Still in perfect time. Just because you're dead doesn't mean you stopped being a god.
Squeal of vinyl. Clink of metal. Jagged music. Together, you leave to clean up the bodies you left behind.