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Zero Dim Sum Game

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Prelude: Angry Young Man

My name is David Wong. Before we go any further, let me explain one thing. I'm not crazy. I see things from other dimensions, I've fought living shadows with the power of Guns 'n' Roses, I watched a man make a meat-demon explode via telephone, also I’m part monster.

I know what you're all thinking, 'this guy is batshit loony'. You're probably thinking it makes perfect sense I'm sitting in the waiting room of a psychiatrist's home office... Well, you wouldn't have known that yet, since I didn't tell you, but I just did now... so we're all caught up.

The reason I'm here, for this appointment, isn't because of any of that crap I said earlier, it's because I shot a delivery driver with a crossbow.

It was an accident.

I thought he was a shadow possessing a meat-suit, bent on killing my girlfriend, and then me, probably.

It's a long story; this disheveled character had been pretending to be a pizza delivery guy. We hadn't ordered pizza; the box had dog shit in it.

Happens a few more times, escalating a bit with each ring of the doorbell. He finally says something he shouldn't. It was about that girlfriend I mentioned.

Her name is Amy.

She's great.

I'm not.

I'm far from it.

I made sure this fuck-knuckle was very clear on that.

The next night, I hear this noise outside at the window, I look over and that assclown is staring in, repeating Amy's name like some kind of mantra.

A quick sidenote to my sidenote, if John were here, he'd definitely have done his best/worst James Hetfield impression and sang "SOOOMMMEEE KINDAAA MAAANNNTRAAAA OOH".

Back to the topic at hand.

I'd had it.

I got the crossbow.

Which really, you should blame John for. I just talked about him a second ago. John is my best friend. John is also a walking disaster who buys crossbows for people like me, and thinks St. Anger is 'underrated'. Sorry, another tangent...

I hauled ass to my front door, opened it, and nailed that motherfucker right in the chest.

I go outside to see what I'm dealing with.

It wasn't him.

It was a Domino's driver.

Fresh, piping hot pizza flipped out of the box and on to the lawn.

In my defense, as I testified under oath... I still hadn't ordered a pizza.

So you get it now, I guess, maybe. My life is strange, and the strangeness is very real. You can ask Amy or John if you ever get the chance.

My task now, is to convince this well-to-do head shrink that I'm a normal upstanding member of society.

 

 

Ch.1 - Amused Douche

The door to the office opened. A tall, dapper, indistinguishably foreign man was at the other end.

"You are my seven o'clock, David Wong?"

David pondered why that question was necessary; he was the only person here. Still, he offered a succinct reply.

"Yep."

"Good, come in. Please."

David followed the man into a lavishly decorated study. Hundreds of bookcases holding thousands of tomes, volumes, journals, whatever you called books fancy enough to cost this much. All sitting surfaces were carved beautifully out of magnificent wood, swathed in the finest leather. Dark, vibrant, decadent.

He noticed a traditional chaise lounge off to one side, a relatively conservative desk to the other, piled high on all sides with equal parts patient notes and fantastically detailed drawings. The focal point of the space was two comfortable looking chairs facing each other with small tables at their right sides.

It seemed face-to-face conversation was the preferred method here. Dave wasn't too excited about that, he's a pretty good liar, but not the best. And he had a lot of lying to do today.

The doctor was content letting David get acclimated to the surroundings. Enjoying the slack-jawed expression his newest patient had plastered on his face. Watching him intently, crafting a first impression. After he decided enough time passed, he spoke.

"Forgive me, I've been rude, I know your name is David Wong, though I suspect that isn't entirely true. I've yet to formally introduce myself. I am Hannibal Lecter. Do not call me Dr. Lecter. Hannibal is fine. Please, sit down."

"Oh, um, thank you Doct... Hannibal. And of course David Wong is my real name. Why would it not be?"

"Your therapy can only be truly successful, if you are open to accepting my help. Lying is not a way of properly accepting anything. Shall we start again?"

"It's not my real name. I'm not telling you what is. Not yet anyway. I obviously have trust issues. But hey, I am in a psychiatrist's office. Lucky coincidence, am I right?"

"I think, court ordered, is far from coincidence, do you not agree?"

"Yeah, sure. I mean, the trust issues aren't because I shot that guy with a crossbow... though I guess they could be one of the causes of that incident? It's a weird story..."

"And I am here to bear witness. Please, David, what is your story."

David recounted the tale of nasty vagrants harassing him with fake pizza delivery, and the nastier events that escalated from there.

"Now, David. You leave me with a very serious quandary. Why was your first response to this threat, to kill it? Paranoia is a catalyst for many, unsavory, events."

"I had reason to believe... that... I knew... Ok... The police hadn't been very helpful in the matter; I felt I needed to protect Amy. After all we'd been through, she had to feel safe."

"There has been strain on your relationship?"

"There has been strain... around it? Our actual relationship is fine, there's just... outside battles we've had to fight, together, but against others."

"I cannot accuse you of lying again, but, you are being purposefully vague. Here. Let me show you something."

Hannibal walked over to his desk, grabbed a sheet from a stack of official looking paperwork, signed it, and walked over to David with it.

"Here you are. David Wong, mentally stable and a benefit to our society. You promise not to shoot anymore delivery boys, officially signed by a trusted doctor of psychiatry. No more lies, no more misdirection. It is unbecoming. Tell me truthfully, the reason you thought you had to shoot that man."

"With a crossbow."

"You still did shoot him. Yes?"

"Yeah, but, it sounds worse if you don't include the crossbow part."

"You are again leading us from the beaten path. I am not allowed to tell a single soul what you disclose during these sessions, unless of course I fear you are in immediate danger of hurting yourself or someone else. You understand this, correct?"

"Fine... Here, it's my turn to show YOU something."

David fished out his cellphone, loading a video he'd taken at the local burrito stand he frequented.

"Here, watch it. Don't pause it, don't comment until the end. Just watch."

What Hannibal saw was the side of a burrito stand. After a second a man walked into the frame from the left, walking towards the side of the building. The video feed started following the man once he'd made it most of the way there. The man opened a door, stepped inside, and closed the door. The video eased up to the door barely a second after it closed. A hand reached out for the knob, twisted it, opened. Nothing. The man had vanished.

"I normally would laugh this off as child's play. If I may ask, what just happened there?"

"The best explanation myself or John can come up with is... it's a magic door."

"Highly observant."

Hannibal had to try very hard to keep from chuckling while he said that. Despite his best efforts, David seemed to notice the hint of sarcasm.

"I fucking mean it. Doctor. People go in one door; they come out at another one across town. It seems randomized to me, but, that could be because I don't know the schedule."

"How exactly do you know these doors lead to other... doors? Do you have footage of this as well?"

"I've used them before, so has my friend John. Not everyone can, we're... special."

"Being evasive again David. I was almost starting to believe this hollow chicanery"

"Sorry... well, the only thing I can say is, we can use the magic doors because we took magic drugs."

Hannibal's face changed slightly from amused listening to annoyed listening. Dave quickly responded to it.

"Really, that's the only short version. I don't know how much of my hour we've used, but I don't have time today. Next time we can get into it, deal?"

"It is a deal then. Since you have agreed there will be a next time, I will disclose we went over your hour only a precious few minutes ago. I will see you next week, seven o'clock sharp."

 

Interlude

There was something about Dr. Lecter.

I trusted him more than I trusted most people, yet I was in a state of unease the entire time I was there.

Maybe this therapy will be good for me. Being able to talk candidly about the shadows, the soy sauce, Korrok, all of it. It should do me some good.

I only hope I don't drag the good doctor into my world too far. Most people don't make it out.

 

 

Ch. 2 - Soy Sauce Denouement

David was in the waiting room ten minutes early. Leaving him plenty of time to stew over the uneasy feeling he had about what was going to happen. Therapy.

The door opened once more, and Hannibal led David into the study. They sat down across from each other. David tried to read Hannibal's face; he wanted even just an inkling of how his stories from their last session sat in the man's brain. And if those stories were the only new things his brain took in since last week.

"I believe the thread we were about to pull at was, magic doors and magic drugs, Mr. Wong?"

"Yeah, I've got some ground to cover, may as well dive right in."

David sat and explained everything of importance that happened to him, starting from that fateful kegger where he first met Mr. Robert Marley, all the way through their last stand against Korrok, narrowly escaping death... mostly.

Hannibal sat and took in all the information. The extravagance of it all kept him hooked every second. He found David's recounting of some events laughable. So much embellishment, trying to sound like the hero of the story. He was so glad he had been able to hear the corrected account of things already. So much he had learned since his first meeting with David.

"You have a way with your words, Mr. Wong, the Charles Dickens of the shadow people."

"So you don't believe me."

"I believe there is a version of your fairytale that is the truth. A version you perhaps re-wrote into your current fiction. The historical basis for your story is not so important to me. I want to know why you chose to recount this bastardized pantomime."

Hannibal leaned closer to David, emphasizing his next point.

"Tell me David, are there things you do not want to tell, or are there things you would rather not remember?"

"Honestly, a little column 'A', little column 'B'"

Hannibal smirked slyly at the comment. David noticed his eyes seemed... darker than last time.

"Let us try and make our way down column B then. A mighty pillar built in your mind that we must raze and turn to dust. Only then we can rebuild a stronger foundation, fortified with the truth."

Hannibal reached to his side and grabbed a small leather case, opening it, revealing reusable metal and glass syringes, sterile needles, and multiple small bottles of various liquids. As if he'd known he'd need it. Like someone else told him he would need it.

"Give me your arm, please."

David was immediately concerned.

"Why... would I do that?"

"Do you trust me?"

"Kind of? Not really if I'm honest."

"This relationship can go no further if we do not trust each other. I want to help you recover your lost memories, repressed memories. This medicine will help accomplish this. Will you let me treat you?"

Hannibal's eyes seemed to be looking straight through him now. Right to the center of his being. His very existence.

Dave weighed his options at the current moment for what seemed like an eternity. He didn't like the way Hannibal was acting. Conversationally threatening, if that were even a thing. He didn't think he really had a choice here.

"Yeah, fuck it, go ahead."

Hannibal, filled one syringe with a clear liquid, a quick glance at the bottle revealed it was Sodium Amatol. Made sense to David given the 'procedure' about to take place.

Stick.

Ow.

Ooooooh.

David zoned out, Hannibal discreetly filled up a second syringe.

Stick.

Ow.

OW! OW! OW!

Jumping back, as the needle slid out of his skin, David saw it, just the last little particle, as it crawled into the hole in his arm.

"YOU INJECTED ME WITH SOY SAUCE!"

"Yes, and in your current state, the barbiturate already coursing through your bloodstream, you will be even more receptive to its effects. Your mind will be a shattered mirror, reformed into a mosaic of grand possibility. Things are about to get, very interesting."

Dave could feel his body melt into the aether.

He was no longer being.

He just. Was.

Everything was being absorbed so quickly that he could barely retain any of it.

He knew Hannibal was a serial killer; the FBI had been trying to find him for years.

The curtains to his right were less than a year old, manufactured in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

They called him the Chesapeake Ripper.

He would later be called 'Hannibal the Cannibal', He won't be a fan of that.

The brandy in the decanter on Hannibal's desk had been re-poured that morning, after a meeting with a man named Jack Crawford had emptied it.

He'd met a man named Will Graham once already.

At a later date he would gut this man with a linoleum knife, leaving him for dead.

His sister.

They were both born in Lithuania

Hannibal had to eat his sister.

It's why he eats his victims.

It's why he's going to eat me.

Dave's body lay slack, not breathing, not asphyxiating. A mere conduit for true enlightenment.

A figure took over his entire field of vision.

The head of a black feathered stag, dressed in an immaculately tailored orange and tan paisley suit. Soy sauce oozing out of its eyes, melting the feathers along its face as it dripped to the floor. Its actual body appeared to that of a man, but it was rigid like stone. The legs were human-esque, but instead of shoes, he had bare hooves.

"I know who you really are, David Wong, It doesn't matter, not yet. You though, can now see me for what I really am. Let me show you even more. I have been shown so many wondrous things since our last visit. I serve only the great and powerful Korrok. Hail."

It was all too much for Dave's mind and body to handle. He blacked out. Shut completely off, save for basic survival functions.

All he wanted to do at that moment was all he could do.

Finally.

Breathe.

 

 

Interlude

David had been missing for at least week.

John first caught wind of it when the manager at Wally's called him, wondering why Dave hadn't been to work in three days.

He'd dedicated the next four days to calling everyone he knew that also knew Dave.

No one knew anything.

The last thing John wanted to do was upset Amy, but, it was the last person he hadn't bothered yet.

He called, laid out the bad news, and asked if she knew anything.

David apparently had a court mandated therapist appointment the week before he disappeared, and the day of his disappearance.

The crossbow was apparently in evidence now. He'd have to get Dave another one. Better for him than that pistol he'd had, that was REALLY dangerous. That delivery driver wouldn't have survived a clip of 9mm in the chest.

Amy didn't know the address; David apparently had to call the doctor for it. It wasn't listed publicly.

John hung up the phone, feeling less and less sure about his almost lead on David's whereabouts.

He logged onto his computer, figuring some people on the forum at his website, thefifthwall.com, might be able to help him sort this out. Conspiracy nuts were a lot of things, and organized, was sometimes one of them.

There was a new comment on an old post, from about a year ago. It was a post about the shadow people.

It read: [Undisclosed House Number], [Undisclosed Street], [Undisclosed], Illinois, [Undisclosed Zipcode]

Once he wrote down the incredibly specific address, he looked back up at the screen, the comment was gone.

No trace of it, no IP address visited that website at the time of the comment.

He knew he had to load up everything he could conceivably use as a weapon against the living, the dead, or otherwise, and go there immediately.

 

Ch. 3 - Dim Sum

John's Caddy roared up to the address he'd been given. He tore himself out of his seatbelt and promptly forgot everything useful in the trunk. It didn't matter; he was ready to go to war. Bare hands and bloody teeth.

He went in through the foyer and... was completely lost. He quietly whispered to himself,

"Holy shit this place is big. I bet it has like, so many bathrooms. I'd poop in a different one every day."

In response to what could not possibly have been heard, a foreign sounding voice came from elsewhere on the first floor.

"In here!"

John did the only thing he could figure out to do, and followed the voice.

"In where?!"

"To your right!"

"Marco!"

"You are nearly there!"

Finally, John turned a corner and was face to face with David and his captor. All three of them in a liberally ornate dining room. Renaissance paintings, a fireplace for some reason, a centerpiece on the table that probably cost more than John's car, candles just fucking everywhere.

"I am Hannibal Lecter; this is your friend David. You can see he is alive and quite well. Please join us."

John quickly glanced at David and gave him a onceover.

"Why does he have that... machine... attached to him?"

"David is on dialysis, I took one of his kidneys."

"And where is it exactly?"

"Look in front of you. The divine aroma is the flavor of your best friend, waiting to become a branch of your essence."

Korrok was trying to keep up with Hannibal's usual flowery language; he wasn't the best at it.

John saw a plate of twelve steamed dumplings. Arranged in a pattern making the pinched ends of them come together like flower petals. Around them was a salad of bitter greens, baby corn, and water chestnut. Drizzled with what smelled like some kind of garlic something to John.

"You cooked his kidney... into... dumplings? I mean, they look FANTASTIC, but... seems a little pedestrian considering our surroundings?"

Dave came to from his medicated stupor long enough to point out the obvious.

"Because of the soy sauce, John, you... idiot."

"Oh right. That makes sense."

Before the conversation could continue, Hannibal burst into moths. Fluttering out of a window that had not previously been open.

"John..."

David started another sentence and nearly vomited.

"Oof... ugh... He said he serves... Korrok. He isn't human, at least not... anymore... if he ever was. He'll be back for us."

"Yeah, I could tell, with the becoming a swarm of bugs and all that."

"I need to go to a hospital... Dr. Lecter was taking care of me; I have no idea how to use a... thing machine..."

"He said it was... something about a cyst? I dunno, hospital sounds like a plan... but first... aren't you curious?"

John tilted his head down to the table, towards the dumplings.

"You've got to be joking... Even in my... current state, that is... disgusting..."

"Come on man, you know you want to try one."

Dave didn't know if it was the medicine, the sauce, or just how damn delicious they smelled, but, he started to give in.

"I... yeah, actually I... kinda do."

Dave and John sat and dined on the steamed kidney and green onion dumplings, dipping them in the provided garlic chili sauce.

All twelve.

Only after they finished, they went to the [Undisclosed] Emergency Room.

"Alright, Dave, I'm gonna drop you off here. Can you walk?"

"Yeah... I can, but... why aren't you coming in?"

"We need a reasonable explanation as to why you are sans kidney. I'm gonna go fuck up your house and put a bunch of ice in the bathtub. Oh wait..."

John peeled back Dave's bandage and held a Wendy's napkin up to the wound, squeezing slightly.

"OW! Ugh... What the fuck was that for?!"

"Need a bit of red stuff to put in the ice that's going to be in your tub, duh."

"That... unfortunately makes sense... kind of... Just let me out here."

So John left Dave at the hospital, and went off to do his 'work'.

The moths had landed safely by the burrito stand and took the shape of Dr. Lecter once more. He walked up to the side door, smirking at his dull reflection in the unfinished metal.

He opened the door, went inside, and vanished.