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Ink-stained Heart

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Julie managed to reach her cubicle just as the bell signaling that it was eight o'clock chimed. She let out a soft sigh of relief and took her position at the desk before turning on the computer. Today was doomed to be another long day of doing the same work as usual; she could sense it. But, with an air of slight opposition, she began.

As a nineteen-year-old with little experience in the field, it was truly remarkable that she had managed to be hired by the boss of Marvelous Marigold Studios, a blooming graphic design company that was becoming increasingly popular with many important people in the industry. Yet despite this, she was hardly of any importance to the organization. In fact, it became blatantly clear to her over the past year that she was only hired because the boss's son had taken a strange liking toward her.

"Hey, Jules!"

And speak of the devil...

"Heyy, Max," she mumbled and absentmindedly waved at the male now peeking over the cubicle wall.

"How's it going? You look beautiful today."

Julie fought back the urge to flee to the break room, instead glancing up to give him a forced, pleasant smile. Looking at him from an outside perspective, he could easily be seen as attractive: his curly locks of black hair fell over his forehead in spiralling swoops, bringing out the curious sparkle in his blue-green eyes, and his jawline perfectly shaped a charming smile that always seemed to be warm and welcoming. His body, while not chubby, wasn't skinny either. It gave the appearance that toned muscles were hidden under his clothing, which was probably true considering how everything else about him was near perfection.

Everything except his personality, that is.

Sure, he conveyed the impression of a sweet man, but he was disgustingly similar to her ex-boyfriend, Ethan, a drug addict who had used her for his own sick and twisted fantasies and cheated on her multiple times. After she had found out about this, he hurriedly fled to another country with all of her money, leaving her in the dust with no one willing to support her. (cliche much?)

And that was when Max swooped in, attempting to serenade her and instead landing her a job at a major company. She could at least thank him for that. But if the girls he brought in every other week and constantly flirted with were any kind of evidence, it was obvious that he was nothing but a player, just like Ethan.

"I'm doing fantastic, thanks," she responded and pretended to be focusing on her work, hoping he'd fall for it and leave her alone. But of course, he didn't.

"That's cool," he trailed off in disinterest. "Soo, um... do you maybe wanna go see a movie with me tonight? I have an extra ticket," he held up two crumpled pieces of paper that she guessed had been haphazardly shoved into one of his pant pockets.

Julie couldn't help but wince. She was expecting a poorly delivered question like this, but wasn't exactly prepared for it this time around. She racked her brain for some sort of excuse to say no, but it was as if her mind had completely shut down. She silently cursed to herself, her eyes desperately scanning the desk for inspiration... until they finally landed on a faded envelope leaning on the monitor with several ink splotches smeared across it, something she had completely forgotten about until now.

She made eye contact with him once more and flashed another fake smile. "I, uh... I actually need to go somewhere important tonight. It has to do with my uncle," she bit her lip and pulled the sleeves of her shirt down, suddenly feeling anxious. It wasn't a lie; she really did have to be at a place that concerned her uncle Joey Drew, the animator behind many successful cartoons.

"Oh, I see. Mind telling me where?" Max tilted his head questionably. She almost rolled her eyes in annoyance but managed to catch herself.

"It's his animation workshop. He sent me this letter requesting that I stop by. Says he needs to show me something," she gestured to the envelope on the desk. Again, not a lie. He frowned but shrugged.

"Okay then. Have fun with that," he said before turning away and sinking back into his own cubicle.

She exhaled slowly, finally able to relax. With one last glance toward the letter, she went back to working her painfully long shift.

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Later that night, Julie found herself standing in front of a run-down excuse of what was once the cheerful headquarters of her uncle's famous animations. The wooden door was lopsided and bound to fall off of its hinges at any moment, and every window had been sloppily boarded up. Posters littered the ground around the building, all portraying Bendy the dancing demon and Boris the wolf, his most well-known characters. Trying her best to ignore the mess, she carefully opened the door and stepped inside.

The interior was even worse. The same posters were slapped on nearly every wall, and the floorboards creaked loudly under her feet. The air reeked of old mothballs and papers covered in what she assumed was scrapped concept art were scattered about. Peering down at a few, it seemed that most of them were sketches of strange versions of Bendy, one even featuring a halo and angel wings.

After she was done looking, she turned around and gasped in surprise when she almost stumbled over a large cardboard cut-out of the demon. She rested her hand over her chest in an attempt to calm herself down and shook her head. Soon enough, her shock was replaced with a cloudy confusion as to why Bendy was quite literally everywhere. Shrugging her concerns off, she continued exploring the rest of the workshop.

Every room that had a door was locked, and only one area that she had come across was labelled above the entrance: 'The Ink Machine.' Letting her curiosity overtake her, she hesitantly entered the room. Her mouth formed the shape of an 'o' upon discovering what must be the machine. It looked like nothing more than large chunks of metal crudely mashed together to make a bigger one. Gears were placed on the sides and the back, and upon further inspection, were the only things that showed any sign of it being functional. Could this possibly be what her uncle wanted to show her? She tried looking for some sort of button to turn it on, but to no avail. With an exasperated sigh, she took one last glance around the room before leaving.

After several twists and turns, she came upon a room with six pedestals evenly divided on either side. A lever with the words 'Ink Pressure' flashing above it indicated its function. Another sign next to it read 'Low Pressure' in the same lettering. She walked up to the lever and attempted to pull it down, but it wouldn't even budge an inch. Now aggravated, she stormed out, not bothering to examine it any further.

Not only was her uncle nowhere to be seen, every room was either locked off or provided no clues as to where he could be. And to add fuel to the fire already beginning to spark in her mind, the workshop was a complete and utter wreck. She let herself frown, severely disappointed that he would ever allow this given the fact that this was his life's work.

Yeah... 'was'...

Too involved with her own thoughts to be paying attention to where she was walking, she was taken aback when she fell against something slightly moist and foul-smelling. She took a step back and peered upward with a concerned expression which quickly morphed into one of sheer horror.

In front of her, lying against a wooden plank, was a terrifyingly realistic 3D corpse of a dissected Boris the wolf. His ribs were pried apart, sticking out like thorns on a rose, and the inside of his chest was a faded brown hollow where his vital organs should have been. His eyes, shown as full of joy and laughter on posters, were nothing more than lifeless x's, and ink splatters stained the wall behind him.

Julie stood in silence with her hands covering her mouth, barely able to force herself to take a step back, let alone process the horrendous scene before her. Her eyes were unwillingly transfixed on the mangled character and hot tears blurred her vision, threatening to flow down at any moment.

"Oh God, Boris... what happened to you?" she whispered shakily. "Did Joey do this?" the thought echoed repeatedly in her mind. She couldn't help but suspect this had everything to do with her uncle.

Before she could say or do anything else, a heavy drop of liquid plopped down upon her head. With her mind temporarily off of Boris, she furrowed her eyebrows in confusion and glanced upward just in time to feel a sharp pain in her side and be met with complete and utter darkness.

Chapter Text

"Dreams... come... true..."

The line repeated over and over in Julie's head like a broken record. The voice was wispy and distant, as if it didn't truly exist. She tried to push it away, but it always managed to find its way back.

"If so... then..."

It finally changed its words, causing her to stop rejecting its presence and listen.

"Why... are you... still... alive... ?"

After putting the pieces together and letting the question's meaning sink in, she felt her throat tighten and her chest rise and fall as her lungs screamed for air. She searched her brain for whom the voice belonged to, but it was completely unrecognizable. This fact alone only made it even harder to breathe.

"Ha... haha... ahahahaha..."

It began to laugh as if it took great amusement in her gradual submission, which induced a rapid rise in her growing anxiety. "Please stop laughing at me," her voice came out as a distressed plea. The echo's laugh only increased in volume.

"Hahaha... aHAHAHAHAHA...."

She had had enough of being toyed with. With a great deal of effort, she forced herself to stand despite the fear creeping over her that made her entire body shudder. "This isn't funny!" she cried out. "Just leave me alone!" once she uttered out the last word, she broke down into a violent fit of choked sobs and sniffles. As if that was all it needed to hear all along, the voice miraculously vanished along with the dark void of her mind that it possessed.

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Julie jolted awake with a gasp, immediately taking notice of the thin layer of sweat covering her from head to toe. She felt her heart wildly pound against her chest for several minutes until it finally slowed to a steady rhythm. After regaining control over herself, she became aware of her new environment.

She was surrounded on all sides by splatters of ink and small flickering candles whose flames were too weak to fight off the threatening shadows looming above and around her. However, they were just bright enough to outline the outside circle and center star of what was undoubtedly a satanic ritual.

And if her current position right in the middle was any clue, she was the sacrifice.

Panic struck her like a bolt of lightning and she rapidly scrambled to her feet, only pausing to pick up one of the candles. Then, with a surge of energy, she blindly ran into the dark.

Much to her surprise, it didn't take long until she nearly slammed into something sturdy. She frantically felt her way around until her hand brushed against what she believed was a doorknob. Just as she was about to turn it, a pair of large hands gripped her waist before tossing her back in the circle like she was a mere toy.

She let out a yelp as her body slammed against the wooden floor and a wave of pain washed over her. She weakly turned and lifted her eyes upward with a dazed and hurtful expression. Before she could get a good glance at the perpetrator, who resembled nothing but a shadow in her blurry vision, they vanished into the equally pitch-black darkness of the room.

Too damaged and exhausted to protest, she allowed her eyes to flutter shut and enter a deep sleep.

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Several hours passed before Julie awoke once more, this time to the sound of cheerful whistling with an occasional hum. She listened for a long moment until concluding it was emanating from the same shadows she had recklessly thrown herself into earlier. The tune was pleasantly soft and reassuring, the last thing she'd ever expect to hear in a place like this. She almost wanted to it to last forever, but at that moment, escaping this literal hellhole was her top priority.

"Hello?" she faintly called out. She assumed the stranger had heard her voice, as the whistling stopped instantly and a long pause settled in the air between them.

Starting to become uncomfortable with the prolonged silence, she spoke up again. "Um... could you maybe help me?"

There was another pause before they finally answered. "Oh... so you're finally awake?" they chimed in a strangely whimsical tone that was eerily similar to the one that had taken root in her head before.

A sickening sense of dread crept its way into the pit of her stomach, and it slowly dawned on her that she had made a horrible mistake.

She didn't respond, instead deciding to foolishly utter out a panicked, indistinct noise and hopelessly clamber as far away from the unknown being as possible. Unfortunately, they only had to take a few strides to reach her and seize her by the shirt collar. She thrashed about in a fruitless effort to escape their clutches, which only made them let out a cruel chuckle.

"I'm afraid that struggling will only make things worse for you," they cooed. This didn't stop her from clenching her teeth and emitting a growl of frustration.

"Who are you? And what do you want from me?!" she shouted, yet they chose to ignore her. Now becoming more impatient than intimidated, she twisted her body in a determined attempt to catch at least one glimpse of her supposed kidnapper. But much to her annoyance, they quickly caught onto her actions and covered her eyes with their free hand.

"Ah ah ah...," they clicked their tongue in disapproval. "You wish to see who I am? I'd think twice about that if I were you... Julianna."

She froze when she heard her full first name, something she had told very few people; not even Ethan had knew. She inhaled deeply, now overwhelmed with uneasiness. "How do you know my name?" she asked unsteadily. The mysterious individual simply chortled before leaning in until she could feel their cool breath fan over her ear.

"I know a lot more about you than you think," they whispered hauntingly.

She exhaled in silent defeat, her inner stamina and comprehension of any of this completely diminished. "Just... who are you?" she repeated meekly.

"Well, if you really want to know," they released their grip on her shirt and uncovered her eyes, allowing her to turn and see her captor at last.

She was ready for almost anything at that point: a murderer, a cannibal, or even a terrifying animal of some sort.

What she was not ready for was to be face-to-face with the beloved children's cartoon character, Bendy the dancing demon, and his iconic smile. Noticing her gawking at him, his devilish grin grew even wider.

"Welcome to the show, darlin'."

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At that point, a rational person would have immediately attempted to flee.

But Julie was not a rational person.

"Holy shit... that's not a costume," was all that was going through her panicked state of mind as she stared at the demon with wide eyes, completely petrified. Meanwhile, he had taken the opportunity to slink closer and closer until his pale face was only mere inches from her own.

"Now, Julianna. We can do this the easy way or the hard way," he growled warningly. "You either tell me why your uncle did what he did to us, or I force it out of you. Simple as that," he tightened his grip on her wrists and stared her down with the endless black abysses that were his eyes.

Once she had somewhat recovered from the shock of being in the presence of a cartoon character, she let the request sink in and could only stare back at him with a confused expression.

"Um... what exactly are you talking about? And who is 'us'?" she asked, genuinely puzzled. Bendy only narrowed his eyes at the female.

"Oh no, you can't play dumb with me. You know exactly what I'm talking about and you're gonna give me answers... or else," he demanded in a much more menacing tone.

At this point, Julie was slowly starting to become more frustrated than scared. "Alright, Mickey Mouse wannabe. How do you expect me to give you these answers when I don't even know anything? Pull them out of my ass?" she retorted with a sudden, bold flair of sarcasm. This managed to catch him off guard, but wasn't enough to break his stubborn spirit. In fact, it only seemed to make him even more angry.

"So... that's how it's gonna be, huh?" he tilted his head as an oddly calm smile found its way onto his animated features.

"I'm not scared of you. You're just a cartoon character," she whispered in a feeble attempt to prove to herself that she wasn't completely and utterly terrified of the unpredictable creature before her.

"Is that so?" he hummed. He stepped even closer, forcing her to shuffle backwards until her back was against the door. Heavy drops of black liquid began to trickle down his face before plopping down onto the wooden floor.

"I don't think you know what I'm capable of," his voice had lost its peculiar charm and was much more deep and sinister.

Julie swallowed hard as the sudden realization of what she had done by toying with him sunk in. He instantly took notice of this and chortled in amusement.

"Not so tough now, are ya?" he taunted and flashed another crooked smile. She avoided the question, instead staring down at the floor while an unwelcome mixture of both humiliation and underlying fear caused her stomach to churn. Her initial perception of the mascot along with her stubbornness had gotten her into this mess...

... but maybe it could also get her out.

"And you are? You've got to be kidding me," she scoffed and rolled her eyes. Much to her satisfaction, this washed the snarky smile off the demon's face and he growled once more.

"Well, I'm certainly a lot more tougher than you could ever dream of being!" he shot back and pressed an accusing gloved finger against her chest. More black goo rolled down his face, this time over his eyes, and fell to the ground in large splatters.

"Oh yeah? Prove it," she used her free hand to slap his finger away and took a step toward him, doing her blest to avoid the mess he had made.

Now on the verge of practically seething with rage, he raised a fist and aimed straight at her face. Fortunately, with a stroke of luck, she was able to scramble away and dodge the punch just in time. Instead his fist smashed through the door, causing it to break into a thousand wooden splinters.

"Damn it!" he recoiled in pain and held his hurt hand against his chest. Ignoring the fact that he had literally broken a door with his own fist, Julie took the chance to sprint toward the newly formed exit to freedom.

Passing poster after poster, it didn't take long for her to reach the entrance of the workshop. She frantically pulled at the door knob, but it wouldn't budge. A jolt of panic surged through her. "Shit...," she cursed and took a quick glance behind her before trying again. As expected, nothing happened.

After a few more hopeless attempts later, she snatched her phone out of her pocket and began to dial Max; he was currently her only option. It rang for several seconds before, much to her dismay, cutting to voicemail.

"The one time I actually need you and you don't even answer. Fantastic," she huffed and started to dial him again. As it buzzed, the sound of heavy footsteps could be heard directly behind her. She froze on the spot and moved the phone away from her ear. Then, slowly but surely, she forced herself to turn around.

In front of her was a black, inky monster with long, lanky arms donning an all-so-familiar bow tie. The face was obscured by dark goo, but there was no doubt in her mind who it was.

"You'll regret that," it threatened. Then, with one swift movement, Bendy lunged toward her.

Chapter Text

Hello everyone! I have some information pertaining to this story that I think all of you should know about.

Unfortunately, after properly reading through the chapters I have posted so far, I am afraid to admit that I am not very satisfied with Julie and her relationship with Joey. The fact that she is related to him leads me to think of her as a Mary Sue, which I had never intended to happen. Yes, she does have flaws and is nowhere to being perfect like most Mary Sues tend to be, but it still bothers me. I want to stray as far away from that territory as possible.

So, in conclusion, I am currently going to go through these first three chapters and do some major editing concerning this. Instead of being the niece of Joey, she will be one of the ex concept artists that worked for him in the past. I will also make some minor (or major, depending on what I feel will work the best) changes to her backstory involving Ethan so it isn't as cliche as it currently is.

I deeply apologize for these sudden changes and sincerely hope that in the end, they will make this story much more enjoyable. If possible, I recommend skimming through the first three chapters once I have made these edits in order to make the experience better.

Thank you so much for sticking with me through this and once again, I'm very sorry. I hope this won’t end up confusing or angering anybody and that you all continue to find entertainment in my story.

See you in the next update!