Chapter 1: The start of another loop
Joey Drew was in the kitchen like every other time his old friend arrived in his house after defeating Bendy with the last reel. The man had gotten old, sure, but his mind was sharper than it had ever been. It didn't matter he was sitting in a wheelchair because of his injuries or that he was over sixty years old by now. No, that didn't stop his brilliant ideas and his powerful dreams. At least that's what he told himself over and over again.
Maybe he had made a few mistakes, maybe he had manipulated, threatened and killed everyone working for him to make his dreams come true, but it wasn't his fault they were gullible and naive. They had all stayed with him until he killed and turned them into these creatures with the ink machine, one by one. Well, he hadn't really killed them himself, but he still was somehow responsible for their deaths and rebirth. "They were just a bunch of idiots," he said, doing the washing up. "None of them knew when it was their time to leave."
The creator, as he and some others called himself, had tried to turn them into what they were supposed to be. It wasn't like he had wanted to, but the studio had to stay successful. There were other cartoon studios which were getting more and more successful and he couldn't let himself get defeated so easily by the competition from Walt Disney and the others. If he had to use satanic rituals mixed with some knowledge about technology and kill everyone to keep everything going he did it and he wouldn't hesitate doing it again.
But unfortunately it had gone wrong. How could he have predicted this terrible outcome? Not only did he have a soulless and corrupted version of Bendy roaming around, but also a bunch of former employees who were scared, confused and angry. The last time he saw them they tried to bite off his arm and he was almost twenty years younger back then.
So he couldn't get his cartoon characters to live? Alright then. If he couldn't get that dream turn out perfectly, he would at least make money with the things he still had. Thousands of monsters made of ink, those people he had lied to and betrayed. He could make a horror movie with them, they were quite popular these days for a reason he couldn't understand (What was bad about classic cartoons?). The ink machine always created movies of the events within the studio, so that wouldn't be a problem. For that horror movie he just needed a protagonist...Henry Stein, the only person that had left the studio before it had escalated into this mess.
He just had to write a letter that would make his former animator curious and lead him to come back to the old workshop to show him something... The second his old pal had opened the door the first time his fate was sealed. Joey only had to put a story board into the machine in his house in advance and the story was set from the beginning to the end.
But there was one character in his game who didn't play along. Henry Stein, the protagonist, the old friend, the animator, the realistic one, the man who gave up everything he had...for a family. Why bother having an annoying wife and ungrateful brats? The world was about success, money and fame, not people whose names would be forgotten by the whole world in a blink of an eye. And still his friend hadn't understood that. As far as he knew Henry's wife was dead and was never able to get her husband a child due to some issues with her health. It looked like it hadn't been worth for Henry to ever leave. Maybe that was one of the reasons he had come back.
This man had somehow managed not to die through the whole story, even though there were many moments he could have, no, should have. An imperfect angel, Brute Boris, the ink demon, Bertie's machine (Joey couldn't help himself, calling Bertrum that had always been funny)... How could Henry still be alive? But then again, why was he so surprised? He knew Henry had always been very stubborn and was a fighter. He had fought in both world wars after all. The fact of being older hadn't stopped him at all, he even seemed more of a fighter than the last time they'd meet.
Joey needed to get rid of him now. He couldn't always write the same script over and over again, he was tired of doing so and he needed to end this once and for all before Henry might actually be able to set everyone free.
Sometimes his old friend remembered what had happened in the loops before, sometimes he didn't. The old man didn't even bother trying to convince the former workers he recognized not to do anything bad to him anymore because he had realized he couldn't change anything about the things they did. Henry seemed to have gotten bored about everything sometimes and Joey had the feeling it wouldn't take him any longer because Henry didn't just try to survive anymore, like he did in the beginning. Instead, he walked around looking for a way to help the lost souls down there, actually trying to free them.
Yes, Henry had become a threat. And Joey couldn't ignore that anymore. But how could he get rid of him? He couldn't just kill him in his house! People were already suspicious enough when they heard his name after his whole life story! So how could he do that? With the whole story he had created to endlessly repeat? Henry survived the whole scenario every time!
"I need to change the script," Joey muttered, putting a hand under his chin. "I need to weaken Henry, both physically and mentally. But...how?"
Weaker... How could he make him weaker? There wasn't much he could do. Unless... Joey smirked when the idea popped up in his mind. He needed to turn him into a child! If he turned him into a little boy he wouldn't have to worry. Henry was familiar with everything around him, but his child self wouldn't be. Joey drew a quick painting of Henry at the beginning of his script, his kid self on the next panel with a confused expression on his face. Then Joey limped through his apartment to his ink machine and threw the picture into it before heading back to the kitchen to greet Henry in there as soon as he arrived. Henry had to come to the kitchen to walk through the entrance or else it wouldn't work.
Joey stood there with his back to the door, starting to do his own dishes. His leg hurt, but he wanted being dramatic when Henry arrived - even though he had seen it over and over again and had already lost interest.
After half an hour, he heard heavily breathing coming from his living room. His guest had arrived once again, what a surprise. He heard Henry walking through the room, examining everything in there before walking into the kitchen.
"Henry? So soon?" Joey questioned, not even glancing over his shoulder. "I didn't expect you for another hour yet. Now you're just trying to impress me."
Henry didn't respond.
"But I know...I know... you have questions. You always-"
"They never left, did they? Those letters in your living room are fake, right? Allison, Thomas And Wally... It's too good to be true, especially when you consider the fact that both Wally and Thomas had to do with the machine at some point. You would have never let them go. They knew too much about it. Especially Thomas, he was there when the ink demon was created."
Joey was surprised. It had been a long time since Henry had interrupted him the last time. At first he had just yelled at him, cried about the situation and begged him to stop, then he became silent. Hearing him ask questions again was...strange.
"You only noticed that now ?!" he asked surprised, turning around to see the other man's face. "I thought you'd have figured that out a long time ago!"
"I never had many clues," Henry replied, shrugging. His face didn't show any emotion besides boredom and Joey had to pull himself together not to slap him.
"That angle even called that Boris clone Tom! Tom is a short form of Thomas! How are there not many clues?! Tell me!"
"I know, Joey. It's just getting so annoying to repeat this over and over again that I just want to annoy you as well. Be glad I'm not getting violent because of it." The man looked around the room, just seeming exhausted. "It seems like you're still the short tempered person I know."
"What do you get from annoying me?" Joey asked with an annoyed expression on his face.
"A little bit of happiness, at least for a short while. I might remember this later and am able to smile in that hell you created. And what do you get from making me go in there over and over again?" The former animator looked at him, waiting for an answer.
Joey sighed, "You never see the picture as a whole, do you? You were the creator of them. You created Bendy and Boris! And then you just abandoned them. I found the drawings of the Butcher Gang and Alice Angel on your desk. Why did you abandon them, Henry?"
"I left because you made me work way too much and you know that. I couldn't even see my own wife, Joey!" Henry responded, glaring at him, "Her time was running out. My time with her was running out."
"This cartoon was much better than her, Henry. It was your creation!" Joey answered. "Who needs children or a wife if you have the chance to become the one making million other children love your cartoon and become famous? We could have had a studio that continued making cartoons even after our deaths!"
"This arguement is leading nowhere," Henry said, shaking his head. "Why do I even bother talking to you?" He walked towards the door, leading to the old workshop. "I have to save them, if you want it or not."
"You will never free them... I will make sure of that."
"Nothing should last forever, Joey. Not your empire and not the curse you put over your employees."
Joey watched him open the door and step into the studio. The moment Henry was inside of it the door was immediately closed. He knew something was happening the exact same second, turning the old man into a little boy. He had been in contact with the ink machine for so long that he just knew.
The show was about to begin once again...
But this time things would go different...
Chapter 2: Alone
The boy was standing in the hallway, not sure where he was or how he got there. "Where...where am I? What is this place?" he asked with his high child voice, more curious than actually scared. This might have been confusing, but still...it looked interesting. So different from anything he had seen before.
He couldn't remember what had been the last thing he did and it made him feel a little weird because something like this had...never happened before. He looked behind him and noticed a door, the 'exit', but although he tried very hard he couldn't open it. It was locked for some reason. But why was it locked and who had done it? His memory was just so blurry... As far as he figured he had to had come from there. Someone closed it behind me? Weird.
The little boy pouted and turned back to the long, dark hallway. There had to be another exit or at least something to open the door with, so he decided to just look for it. There was no way anything bad could happen, right?
The colors of his surroundings seemed strange though. Everything looked like it was just a drawing and it was in a...weird sepia tone? Yeah, sepia was that color. It frightened him, but at the same time it was oddly familiar. He soon realised this place looked like one of those comics he had seen once. If he was in a drawn world he couldn't complain, he loved drawings.
The eight year old looked at the posters on the wall. A poster called 'Bendy in THE DANCING DEMON' was on his right, showing some black figure with gloves and a bow tie, probably Bendy, in a tutu. But where was his head?
Henry stepped closer and saw small, printed words: presented in Sillyvision. Sillyvision? What a funny name for a company. He giggled and turned around to the picture on the other wall, Bendy in LITTLE DEVIL DARLING, also presented in Sillyvision, this time only showing the characters gloves. So this company was making some sort of comics? That was really nice. Maybe he could actually find one? By the looks of the posters he figured it would be fun to read.
From the corner of his eye he suddenly noticed a movement on his right side. "H-hello? I-is anyone here?," he shouted, wheeling around, but he saw nobody. There was no answer. So creepy, he thought. He didn't think he was allowed to be here and if anyone found him... his parents would not like him snooping around a place he shouldn't be in.
He tripped over his way too long trouser legs and almost fell on the ground if there hadn't been the wall next to him.
"Why are these clothes so big?" he muttered. "I shouldn't wear them..." They were...adult sized? And they looked weird, not like anything the adults he knew would wear. Henry rolled up both his sleeves and trouser legs because he didn't want to end up actually falling and hurting himself. He noticed a piece of paper peeking out of the pocket of his trousers and pulled it out. Perhaps it would help him to figure out how he got here in the first place.
IT SEEMS LIKE A LIFETIME SINCE WE WORKED ON CARTOONS TOGETHER. 30 YEARS REALLY SLIP AWAY, DOESN'T IT?
IF YOU'RE BACK IN TOWN, COME VISIT THE OLD WORKSHOP. THERE'S SOMETHING I NEED TO SHOW YOU.
YOUR BEST PAL, Joey Drew
The boy was even more confused after reading this letter. Who was this strange Joey Drew guy? He had never heard of him before. Why did he talk to him in that letter as if they had known each other for years and as if Henry was an adult? That didn't make any sense, he was only eight years old.
Maybe this guy had addressed another Henry instead? Yes, that'd make sense. But how had it gotten in his pocket?
No, the real question was why he was even wearing these clothes. Had someone dressed him up in those? He just didn't understand what was going on... but he would find out, one way or another.
He decided to look for more clues. There had to be people in here and they or this other Henry might be able to explain some things to him. He only hoped his parents would believe him and wouldn't be mad at him for being... here. Although he had no idea where 'here' was.
Henry sneaked through the hallway, but not without glancing at another poster with a completely different character than the ones before. 'Bendy in SHEEP SONGS' was printed on the top, but there was also another printed line, proclaiming 'with Boris the wolf'. This character seemed like a happy guy, smiling and holding a trumpet or something in his left hand. The eight year old decided that this wolf was going to be his favourite character, simply because it had a head, unlike the other one.
At the end of the corridor was a big room. There was some sort of desk between two pillars with a chair next to it in the middle of the room, some sign on his right side with the words JOEY DREW STUDIOS written on it and in the back of the room was a bright light, shining on a wall. He also noticed a hole in the left wall which had been boarded up, but whoever had done it hadn't done a very good job.
Henry walked across the room, looking in every direction to at least have something great to remember, until he noticed something next to the light. A dark figure... The boy came closer, only to realize it was just a cutout of a grinning character. Examining it he quickly came to the conclusion that it was Bendy, apparently a demon. The character looked adorable, but... something about his grin just seemed... forced.
He was probably just imagining things. The eight year old smiled at the cutout and reached out to him to shake his hand. "Hello, Mister Bendy, my name is Henry! It's very nice to meet you! I hope we can be friends!" Unfortunately it didn't seem like he could actually shake Bendy's hand due to him being a cutout.
Being a little disappointed, the boy looked at the source of light and decided to turn it off because the sound was irritating him a little. He stepped forward to it and pressed one of the buttons to turn it off. The light disappeared and it was almost quiet. Almost quiet. There was some music playing somewhere. Where was it coming from?
The boy glanced on his left side and noticed a table with a drawing on it. Someone had drawn Bendy in a wavering position, smiling out of the drawing. It was kind of creepy...
He remembered he wanted either to find someone who would help him or something to get out of here and return to his parents, so he turned around and walked through the room, passing the desk between the pillars and glancing at the papers on it, but there was nothing drawn on them.
Henry turned left and walked through a dark corridor only to enter another, very small room with small pieces of paper everywhere on the ground and on the walls, as well as another Bendy drawing on a desk, but this time it looked... so different. It didn't grin and seemed more like a child than the other one. A small piece of paper was lying next to the drawing, with one single word on it: 'NO'. How rude. Henry guessed this man named Joey had written it. Had his mother not taught him how to be polite?
The boy cocked his head in confusion. Why would anyone say no to that great drawing this person had made? It looked less forced than the one in the other room. And way more happy!
He shook his head and went back to the corridor only to find a a door he hadn't noticed until now. He entered a big room with many other desks, all with drawings of Bendy with the same smile he had on the cutout. Henry walked down the stairs and looked at every drawing, but he didn't think any of them showed the little demon like he should be. It just didn't feel right.
"I should better seek somewhere else," he muttered and walked back.
Chapter 3: Little jumpscares
Dreams come true.
Henry stared at the words written on the wall, unsure what he should think about it. He knew the people working here were adults, but still... Had nobody ever told them not to write on walls? What would they parents think if they found out? The thought of an old man giving this Joey Drew a caning made the boy giggle. For a few seconds he just giggled and for him it felt like a relief.
But what did this person mean with this sentence? Was it speaking about actual dreams or just wishes people wanted to get granted. It was probably the second one, right? It couldn't be much different.
He decided it made more sense for him to step deeper into the studio instead of just standing there, so he walked down the hallway, trying to open the doors on his left and ride side, but all of them were locked. How disappointing, he would have loved to explore the other rooms. At the end of the corridor was some sort of board, but it looked too complicated for him, so he only shortly glanced at it, seeing the name Thomas Conner on its bottom, then he turned right and immediately fell over a big pipe on the floor. Due to his fall the eight year old hurt his left knee and it started bleeding. He cried in pain as the bood ran down his leg and dripped on the floor, but he was a fighter, so he stood up very slowly, glaring at the pipe. "You're evil." He knew it was just a thing, not something he could blame, but it had still hurt him in some sort of way.
The little boy limped in a gigantic room with chains hanging from above, leading down into the darkness. Something was attached to these chains. Should he pull it up? But what if it was dangerous? He needed to see it first. Henry was basically just standing on a big platform, so he stepped closer to the wooden stage to look down and make out its silhouette in the darkness. Even though he tried very hard he just wasn't able to make out what was being hidden in the darkness. He had to pull it up then.
Henry turned to his right seeing a machine which would probably activate the lever to lift whatever was down there, but the two dry cells of this machine, or whatever these things were called, were missing. He started looking around and found one in a trunk, while the other one was on the shelf. The boy put them into the machine and pulled the lever, waiting for something to happen.
The chains started to move and a giant box was moving up. It took him a few seconds to realise it was a machine with pipes attached and a tube as big as a human on one side. "What is this thing?" the boy asked, expecting someone to come along and tell him. This machine had made a lot of noises and it was impossible to not hear it, so why did nobody come and ask him what he was doing in here?
The eight year old stood on the platform for a few minutes, just waiting, until he decided if there was no-one coming he would just see what the machine did. "Let's see what this thing does. Oh...Maybe it makes candy!"
Henry walked back, this time not falling over the pipe but still glaring at it, and noticed one of the doors which had been locked was opened now. Who had done this and why? He was starting to feel like he was being watched, but he pushed the feeling away and fully opened the door. It was leading downstairs...
The boy limped down the stairs, entering another room with chairs and two tables. There were the same posters as at the beginning, so he didn't really bother looking at them for another time. He traversed the room and turned left, but there were planks blocking the way. Maybe he should go back. Hadn't he seen there was another way that had opened?
He rushed back as fast as he could, and really, there had been a wall he hadn't noticed had been lifted. Henry quickly went inside the new area. Wait, what was that? 'Bacon soup'? This sounded weird, but very tasty. He grabbed the can and decided to go the left way first before exploring what to find on the other one.
There was something, a tape recorder, lying on a table, with some poster with the dynamic words WORK HARD WORK HAPPY on it. Should he listen to the tape? He didn't think whoever had recorded it would want him, a small child, to listen to it... yeah, he would definitely listen to what this person had to say. He pressed the play button of the recorder, which had the name Wally Franks labeled on it, and listened to the voice coming out of it:
At this point, I don't get what Joey's plan is for this company. The animations sure aren't being finished on time anymore. And I certainly don't see why we need this...machine. It's noisy, it's messy. And who needs that much ink anyway? Also, get this, Joey had each one of us donate something from our work station. We put them on these little pedestals in the break room. To help to appease the gods, Joey says. Keep things going. I think he's lost his mind, but, hey, he writes the checks. But I tell you what, if one more of these pipes bursts, I'm outta here.
That really sounded weird... But what if that was actually a clue? What if that pedestals thing started the machine? Henry started to get excited, even though he now knew that this machine created ink. Lots and lots of ink. He would call it...the ink machine. And Wally Franks sounded like a funny guy. If one of the employees found him he hoped it would be him.
The little boy walked down the hallway, turned right and tried to open another two doors. He was getting much slower, having a very bad feeling all of the sudden. Like he shouldn't be here... Henry ignored the feeling and limped into a dark room. It was just a feeling, nothing to worry about. Right?
The room was filled with a few chairs, one of them was just lying on the ground as if someone had left in a panic attack. There was another projector in the back of the room and the little boy approached it to see what was in the darkness behind it. It was a wheel to do something with the ink pressure as stated above it. But it was not there to turn on the machine. Where were these pedestals this funny guy had talked about?
"Oh, come on! You can't be serious! How am I supposed to turn this machine on if-"
He was quite disappointed until he remembered there was another way leading somewhere else. Maybe he could turn it on there? It was worth to look what he could find. Henry smiled and walked all the way back. To his big surprise, his knee had already stopped bleeding and - was starting to heal? Was this normal? His wounds had never healed so fast. Should he be worried? Well, it was a good thing for his wounds to heal. He passed a desk with an empty desk in front of it and-
He screamed in shock and jumped backwards when a strip of wood fell from the ceiling. "T-that actually scared me," he muttered. Henry was alone and their was nothing familiar about this place, so of course he was a little bit scared, but he shouldn't be that terrified! There was no reason to be. But he wondered, why would this suddenly fall from up there? How long had this place not been getting fixed? There were planks covering up big holes in the wall and falling from the ceiling... was this place abandoned? No, that didn't make sense...
He took a deep breath and went further, trying to calm himself. The eight year old turned right and noticed immediately he was in the room Wally Franks had mentioned in his audio log. There were three pedestals on each side, with pictures of different items behind every one of them. At the end of the room was the thing to turn on the machine, but some blinking bottom told him there was low pressure. Hadn't he seen something to do with the ink pressure in that room with the projector?
He looked at every picture on the wall. A gear, a musical note, an inkwell, a wrench, a book and a plushie. He needed to find those things... but how was he supposed to find a musical note? Where there any sheets with them?
Henry was a smart boy, he would figure it out soon enough. He just hoped it wouldn't take him long to find everything. Sighing, he went back and-
"H-how did you get here, Mister Bendy?" he asked, staring at the cutout in front of him. "Are you...watching me?"
Of course the cutout didn't answer. But perhaps Bendy just wanted him to be safe. Yeah, that made sense. "You're watching me... if you are just trying to keep me safe then...thank you!"
The boy walked around the cutout with a smile on his face. He noticed something behind it. A dark room with someone lying on a table in the middle of it. Henry had a bad feeling about this... but he needed to see what was there.
He walked into the room and felt like his whole world was upside down. There was the other character, Boris the wolf, lying on that table with its chest wide open. He didn't know how to handle it. There was a character of a comic, or whatever they had produced in here, lying there, dead.
Tears started to fill his eyes and roll down his cheeks. "W-what happened h-here?" he sobbed. "Why are you..." He couldn't end his own question. The kid fell down on his knees and started to cry even more.
Chapter 4: Turning on the machine
It took the boy at least twenty minutes to stop crying and calm down again. This was just so barbaric... it hurt him to see this, even though he realised it couldn't be an actual living thing. It was just a character. But why was Boris looking so realistic?
With a last sob he decided to go away, but that was when he noticed the wrench sticking out of the character's opened chest. That was that item he needed to turn on the machine. He gulped and wiped away his tears with his long sleeve before slowly approaching the wolf and taking it out. "I am really sorry, buddy..."
He noticed another ink message on the wall. Who's laughing now? It made him feel so sad and helpless. Who could be so cruel to write something like that? It sounded so mean... Henry needed to leave this room as fast as possible or he'd start crying again. The eight year old turned around and walked away, deciding to search for the other items.
It didn't take him very long to find the other five objects dispersed over the whole studio, which turned out to be a grinning Bendy plush, a book written by Joey Drew titled The illusion of living, a gear, a record and a inkwell. On the way of finding these things he played a little game of darts and found more of this so called bacon soup in a closet. It was entertaining, yes, but it didn't make the strange feeling die away he had since he went into the room with Boris lying in it. He also took a few empty sheets of paper and the cute Bendy drawing that got rejected by Mister Drew, so he could look at it later and maybe draw an actual cute version of the character, and put it in the pocket of his jacket.
When he returned to the pedestal room with these objects and put them on those to do the ritual, the machine still wasn't turned on. Henry needed to pile the pressure with that wheel he had seen in the projector room, so he went back there to turn it.
The boy screamed in shock when Bendy suddenly peaked around the corner. He ran there, only to find a lifeless cutout. It hadn't moved on its own, had it? This was getting creepier with every second...
The moment he entered the room the projector turned on by itself and he heard a never stopping whistle. The little boy froze, watching it projecting a character on the screen. It was Bendy the dancing demon. And he was moving! What technology could do that? Fascinated, he watched Bendy move his hands and head. It wasn't really much movement, but still... he had never seen anything like this. "This is great! I want to make something like this when I am older, too!"
Henry, still overwhelmed by the feeling of watching a thing he didn't know was a cartoon, walked around the projector and turned the wheel. It rumbled and one of the pipes in the room bursted, starting to fill the room with ink. The boy ran through the room, getting some ink on himself and his trouserlegs.
While he rushed back to the ritual room he tried to get the ink out of his hair and from his shirt, but it was very sticky and thick, so he stopped trying when he arrived there. He just knew it wouldn't work. "I can take a bath later, it isn't so bad," he said with a wide grin. He honestly didn't think it was too bad to be a little dirty, he was never really allowed to play in dirt like many other children, so this was quite an opportunity for him. The little boy pulled the lever, finally turning the ink machine on.
Everything darkened and he quickly ran back to see what was happening in the room with the machine. Wait, where those footprints in front of that stupid pipe he had fallen over? Yeah, inky footprints leading to a door... he would look what was behind it later, he wanted to see what the ink machine was doing first.
The door to the room had been boarded up, definitely by the person who had made those footprints. This person had been here while he was turning it on, so why didn't they come to him if they didn't want him in there? Were they just really shy?
He stepped closer to the wooden planks to try to pull them away or at least climb through the big hole, when suddenly a black, inky creature with horns and a wide, shaking grin appeared behind the planks and reached out in an attempt to grab him.
Henry screamed in shock and fear, and fell on the floor before jumping up again and running back to the exit as fast as he could. Everything was shaking, doors were closing on his way to the exit and ink started to cover the floor. He heard things crashing on the floor, but he wasn't sure what they were. Henry smiled, he had almost reached it... only a few more meters... he would be out in a few seconds...
The floor under his feet broke and he started falling down more than just one level.
Henry hit the ground with his back and whimpered, pretty horrified by the experience he just had. Shouldn't he be...dead? He had just fallen down so many levels, and his back didn't even hurt. That was so weird. He was breathing heavily and stood up from the ground, looking up to the broken ceiling. Ink was dripping down from it and the room was filled with it to his short knees.
The boy needed to calm down, but it wasn't so easy. It was so loud and he was afraid something might come and scare him again.
After he finally was finally not shaking and panting anymore, the eight year old started to feel bad about what had just happened. That thing he had seen upstairs looked a little like Bendy. It hadn't been nice of him to scare Henry like that, but Bendy was probably hurt he had run away. The next time he'd see the demon he was going to apologise for his rude behaviour, but only if he apologised as well.
There was another wheel in front of him. He should probably turn it and see what it did. Maybe it would drain the ink in the room. It slightly creached as he turned it, but the ink immediately went away until there were only a few small puddles on the ground. The kid sighed with relief and looked around the room.
There was a self in the back of the room with another recording. He walked closer, ink dripping from his trousers, and looked at the name on it, Thomas Connor. He pressed the play button and listened to the raspy voice.
It's dark and it's cold and it's stuck in behind every single wall now. In some places, I swear this godforsaken ink is clear up to my knees! Who ever thought that these crummy pipes could hold up under this kind of stain either knows something about pressure I don't, or he's some kind of idiot. But the worst part about all this...are the noises the system makes. Like a dying dog on its last legs. Make no mistake, this place... this... machine... heck, this whole darn thing... it just isn't natural. You can bet, I won't be doing any more repair jobs for Mister Joey Drew.
This was the second time someone was speaking like this about this Joey Drew guy. Wally Franks had called him crazy and Mister Connor had said he was an idiot if Henry had understood this correct. He didn't get why though. Maybe he could get more information through other audio logs, maybe even from Mister Drew himself. But someone really needed to teach Thomas Connor not to use bad words so much. Heck, idiot and darn... not really nice words.
There was a door on the other side of the room. As the curious kid he was he decided to see where it was leading to. He had to find another exit anyway.
It was a short corridor, leading downstairs with a sign above stating DANGER - KEEP OUT. Henry had just fallen down multiple levers, he didn't think he should really care about it. The light was flickering as he walked down, turned left and sneaked down another stair, walking in another room filled with ink to his chin.
He had to turn another wheel on a pipe to drain the area so he could make his way deeper and deeper down. The footsteps he made through the sticky ink echoed through the studio and he felt as if there was something listening. Or maybe he was just imagining it.
The boy turned a third wheel so he could enter a small room. The way on the other side was boarded up again. Was Bendy going to scare him again? Well, he had to apologise for running away, so he decided getting jumpscared another time wasn't as bad and walked into the room which was ablazed with light.
THE CREATOR LIED TO US.
Henry stared at these words, cocking his head. Who was the creator? Joey Drew? The man whose first Bendy drawing he had seen upstairs?
He looked around the room and noticed there was an axe on the desk on his left side. Should he pick it up? He had never ever hold an axe and he didn't think he was strong enough to swing it. But the way was boarded up. Maybe he should just try.
The boy grabbed it, and to his surprise it was lighter than it looked like. He walked to the wooden planks and the first plank broke with just one hit. Huh. Perhaps it wouldn't be as hard as he had thought it would. He destroyed every plank on his way and felt better with every one he hit. It made him feel less weak and helpless in this strange place.
There was a small candle lit at the end of the corridor. He turned left, broke the planks in front of the door and walked into another room with a strange, eerie and gloomy atmosphere. The only light came from candles around a big circle with weird shapes in it. Two coffins were leaning against the wall. Oh god! Were there actually corpses in these? It made his flesh crawl.
Henry stepped closer to the circle, and everything around him started to shake more and more. Pictures flashed through his mind, of the machine, a wheelchair and the weird creature that looked a lot like Bendy standing in a bright hallway, reaching for him. After that, everything turned black.
Chapter 5: Really alone?
Darkness. Why was everything so dark? Oh yeah, his eyes were closed. That explained a lot. Henry opened them, blinking a few times. His head felt numb and there was some slightly annoying ringing that slowly died away. "What...happened?" he asked, rubbing his head and slowly getting up from the ground. His knees were shaking and he was afraid he would fall down again any second, which surprisingly didn't happen.
He was standing in...a circle? No, that was some sort of creepy...pentagram! There were also candles all around. That was that circle thing from before! The boy started to remember his earlier adventure from suddenly standing by that exit door until ending up down here, fainting without any reason. And that weird pictures he had seen... were those memories? The ink machine, a wheelchair and the monstrous Bendy... what did everything have to do with each other, especially the wheelchair?
The eight year old looked around, noticed the axe lying next to him on the ground and picked it up. He decided it was best to search for another exit instead of just staying there. It kind of sounded...less dangerous. There was another door with two planks blocking the way, so he came closer and hit them, opening the door and entering a corridor leading downstairs. For a second the boy was unsure if he should really go down there, but did he really have a choice?
He took a deep breath and slowly stepped down the stairs, which were making creaking noises even though he was very light. How old was this place?
The first thing he saw there was a message on the wall, HE WILL SET US FREE, which was alit by a few candles on a shelf. It was actually a little creepy and made the young boy feel uncomfortable. "Who will set you free? And from what will you be set free?" the boy asked. Of course he didn't get an answer.
There was a banjo leaning next to the inky message. Henry just couldn't help himself, he had to pluck a few of its strings to hear what the instrument sounded like. Its owner probably wouldn't be too fond of seeing him play it... but he hadn't seen anyone yet, and he didn't think he would. The kid got bored of it soon, but pulled out a thread from his pullover and tied it on his back because he felt like it was something important. Something very important.
The kid took another bacon soup can from under the shelf and turned to his right, noticing another audio log on the other side of the room. Maybe that was another one recorded by Wally. Or maybe another employee talking about what had annoyed them about working for Joey Drew. When he walked closer he saw that it was neither Mister Connor's nor Wally's tape, it was from a man called Sammy Lawrence. In his curiosity he pressed the play button and listened to the calm voice.
He appears from the shadows to rain his sweet blessings upon me. The figure of ink that shines in the darkness. I see you, my savior. I pray you hear me. Those old songs, yes, I still sing them. For I know you are coming to save me. And I will be swept into your final loving embrace. But, love requires sacrifice. Can I get an amen?
Confusion was the only emotion the boy felt. Did this man...pray to Bendy? The comic character or whatever they produced here? "That's actually really fun-"
"I said, can I get an amen?"
Henry jumped, screaming in shock, and looked around, searching for the man who had said them. "A-amen!" he shouted, but there was no response. "H-hello? Is anyone here? Answer please..." The sentence had clearly been repeated after the audio log was finished, and it had sounded like Sammy was standing in this very same room with him, maybe even behind him. But where was that weird guy now? He had to be somewhere! Just why was nobody coming to Henry to take care of him like these adults were supposed to?
"Scary... scary but also really exiting," he muttered. "I want to meet this guy. He seems to be really good at scaring others..."
There were two other coffins behind a pentagram on his left side. Not wanting to faint again, the boy quickly walked away and turned right, facing a Bendy cutout leaning against a wall with another pentagram drawn on it. He wondered if he could destroy the cutout, but decided not to do that. Bendy was his friend and that was his property. It would be mean to do that.
Instead he turned right and then left, only to be in another corridor flooded with ink. Well, he was already dirty. More ink wouldn't hurt, would it? Henry carefully stepped through the corridor. The ink made it difficult for him to walk fast which annoyed him. If he had to be fast in the future it would just hinder him, he just knew. There were a few wooden planks on his way and he destroyed one or two.
Suddenly a man, almost completely black in a sepia overall, walked through the hallway in front of him, carrying a Bendy cutout and mumbling something he didn't quite understand. "Hello? Sir, could you please help me? I don't know where I am and I...!" the boy shouted, approaching that man as fast as he could. But whoever that man was didn't seem like he heard him. He didn't even look in his direction. "Please, Mister! I am here!"
But when he turned around the corner and looked where the man had went it lead him to a impasse with another Bendy cutout leaning against a wall with a pentagram next to a huge shelf filled with dozens of bacon soup cans. There was only a puddle of ink in front of a boarded up hole. "He needs to tell me his tricks..." the eight year old muttered. "I want to do that to!"
He ignored the whispering coming from inside the wall and turned to his right, only to find another lever. There was also a Bendy statue next to him, and he wondered why anyone would have a statue of him. Was Bendy that famous? Henry had never heard of the little guy before, so he didn't think he actually was. Maybe they just liked having these statues around.
It didn't seem like he could pull the lever to open the door yet because three buttons were blinking constantly. Did he have to find something again? It was getting annoying. Why couldn't he just walk around without any problems? It would be so much more fun!
Five minutes later he had found three switches around the area and pressed every single one of them. The rooms behind the door had to involve something exciting or else this whole thing was just going to be really disappointing. He finally pulled the lever and rattling the area opened for him.
The little boy felt watched when he went through the short corridor, but he was probably just imagining things. He hit the planks that blocked the door in front of him and stepped into a very dark area. A big sign told him that it was the music department lead by Sammy Lawrence. That was that strange guy he had found the audio log from before!
Speaking of audio logs, there was another one on a small desk. Was this one maybe of Wally Franks? He hoped so, that guy was the funniest man he had heard of so far. He really hoped it was from Wally. But when he noticed the name on the audio log Henry was very disappointed. It was Sammy Lawrence again. He had really hoped it was Wally, not Mister Lawrence. But he decided it was still worth it to press the play button and listen.
So first, Joey installs this ink machine over our heads. Then it begins to leak. Three times last month, we couldn't get out of our department because the ink had flooded the stairwell. Joey's solution? An ink pump to drain it periodically. Now I have this ugly ink switch in my office. People in and out all day. Thanks, Joey. Just what I needed. More distractions. These stupid cartoons don't write themselves, you know.
Cartoons...what were these? The moving picture he had seen in the room with the projector? Probably. Maybe he could ask the man in the overall if he met him again.
He pulled a lever in another room and the light turned on. There was ink dropping from a pipe above and something fell down. Henry stared at the think that started crawling in his direction. It looked similar to a human, but it didn't have legs or a visible face and moaned like it was in pain.
The boy didn't know what to do. He would never ever consider hurting someone else. Hitting planks with an axe, sure, that was fun. But a living being?
The creature stopped in front of him, cocking its head. It seemed to examine him. Maybe it was scared, too...?
"Don't worry, I am not going to hurt you. But promise you won't hurt me."
The creature didn't answer. Instead it turned around and crawled back to the ink puddle on the ground, jumping back into it. Henry gasped and rushed there, throwing his axe on the floor. "Wait!" the little boy shouted. "Don't leave me alone...please..."
Henry kneeled down and waited a few minutes, but the ink creature didn't come back.
Chapter 6: The hunted organ
Henry decided it was time to leave and let the ink puddle be. Whatever that thing he had seen was, it wasn't going to come back as long as he was there. Probably because it feared him which didn't make the boy feel too good. The little boy didn't like it when others were scared, angry or sad, he really wanted everyone to be happy. A childish wish, sure, but he was a child after all.
When he stood up he felt like being watched again. It made him shiver in fear and he wheeled around, expecting to see someone, but there was nobody. The boy was probably becoming paranoid or whatever the adults called it. Henry picked up the axe from the ground to at least look dangerous just in case that there was actually somebody watching him.
The eight year old sneaked around the area, holding the axe tightly. It made him feel less scared about his strange environment. He knew it was stupid, there was nothing. That creature hadn't harmed him at all, so why would anything else? But he couldn't help but feel like he should be. It was just so weird.
The only exit seemed to be one in the same room as the lever he had pulled before. Unfortunately for him, the room was flooded with ink and he had no idea how to drain it. Henry had started to get inpatient about all of the wheels and levers. Why couldn't it just be simple? He really didn't like it that complicated. Henry could only sigh and go find whatever was going to drain the room.
There was another interesting poster with a new character, Alice Angel, who had black hair, a halo, but also demon horns, and was wearing gloves and a black dress with a little bow tie on it. BENDY IN SENT FROM ABOVE was printed on the poster. Apparently Alice Angel was singing and dancing in that cartoon. She seemed to be the complete opposite of Bendy, but Henry wondered why she would have horns. Was she only partly an angel?
It didn't take him long to find another game to keep him distracted from everything around him, a pool table was standing in one of the rooms he found, and Henry really loved that he could play pool, until he noticed one of the billiard balls was in faxt an eyeball. What...? When the little boy left the room, not sure what to think about this, he noticed stairs leading up, and decided to go up and see what was there.
He didn't get disappointed, he got into a booth that had a nice view on a big hall with dozens of chairs and instruments. There was another projector and an audio log on the desk next to it, this time from a guy named Norman Polk.
Henry turned on the projector and leaped for joy when it projected new moving pictures of Bendy. The little demon seemed to be playing hide and seek with a skeleton. The boy giggled, watching them act very funny. "Yeah, Bendy!"
After a while the boy finally got tired of it and turned on the audio log and carefully listened to the voice.
Every day the same strange thing happens, I'll be up here in my booth, the band will be swinging, and suddenly Sammy Lawrence just comes marching in and shuts the whole thing down. Tells us to wait in the hall. Then I hear him. He starts up my projector, and he dashes down from the projector booth and down to the recording studio like the little devil himself was chasing behind. Few seconds later, the projector turns off. But Sammy, he doesn't come out for a long time. That man is weird. Crazy weird. I have half a mind to talk to Mr. Drew about this. But then again, I have to admit, Mr. Drew has his own peculiarities.
Well that was strange. Henry had heard two audio logs of Sammy Lawrence, one in which he sounded funny, and the other one which sounded like he was just incredibly annoyed by everything. In which state had he been when Norman talked about him? It sounded as if he was just acting very insane at that point. "But I honestly just want to listen to another recording from Wally."
Listening to the recording he also realised that Norman Polk was the projectionist of that place. At least he hadn't said anything too bad about Mister Drew like the others. But it seemed common for them to say that they didn't like what Joey was doing. He actually got excited to find new ones from them or other employees. It was like listening to a story told by your parents or grandparents.
But he had to get out of this building, and staying in the projection booth would most likely not get him out of here, the boy needed to find something else to help him.
While he walked back down the stairs he realised how much he actually wished there was someone with him now. It would be less boring, it would probably safe time and he wouldn't feel as terrified all of the sudden because he felt watched or got scared by something.
He really found the room he could see from the booth, and looked around, noticing some instruments leaning against the walls in front of the screen. Was it another puzzle he had to solve? It wouldn't surprise him, the people around here liked these things a lot or else they wouldn't put levers and buttons everywhere, and have some pedestals to put collected items on.
There was a small room with a blinking recording sign that caught his attention. Who was turning these things on if there wasn't anyone else around? Or had this been blinking the entire time?
"Hey, there's another recording! Who's Susie Campbell?" he asked. "I thought this was a... cartoon, so I don't know how she would get involved. Is she a cleaning lady?" The boy started the recording. He'd probably only get an answer by listening to her soft voice.
"It may only be my second month working for Joey Drew, but I can already tell I am going to love it here! People really seem to like my Alice Angel voice. Sammy says she might be as popular as Bendy some day. These past few weeks I have voiced everything from talking chairs to dancing chickens. But this is the first character I have really felt a connection with. Like she's a part of me. Alice and I, we are going places.
So she voiced female characters... that actually made sense. Henry should really be more open-minded. Alice was singing, so of course she needed a voice actress as her own voice. How else would they do it? They couldn't just make her without a voice. He really should stop letting his father influence the way he thought about women.
It was weird, but the boy actually didn't think of her as a real person like he did with Bendy and Boris. Something about that character seemed... too perfect. He just didn't like her. An angelic character, wasn't that boring? She wouldn't do anything interesting like the other two cartoons. Or toons?
Not finding anything that seemed to help him, the eight year old walked back, trying to find whatever he needed.
Another stairs were, unsurprisingly, flooded, but he came across a small room with a organ in it. He had never really had been able to examine an organ closely. They were only used in churches and asking about having a closer look at them had resulted in him getting slapped by his mother, so now he might have the chance of playing it. He didn't understand why they were so sensitive, it was still a piano, wasn't it?
He played a few keys and grimaced, hearing how awful it sounded. He would definitely not end up becoming a musician. Or the organ was just broken...
A moaning interrupted his thoughts and made him step away from the instrument, a terrified look on his face. The moaning was coming from inside the organ. Not from another room, not from behind him, from inside. It sounded like the person, sounding more a male, was in pain. Had he caused this? He had played the keys after all...
"I-I'm so sorry, I won't b-bother you again! I d-didn't mean to hurt you!" the boy stammered, starting to tear up. But the person wasn't answering. "M-mister? Please, answer m-me!"
Was that man dead? Had he... had he killed the person? Was he a murder now? Maybe if he played the keys again...
"I'm sorry! I thought you were dead! Please answer me! How did you end up in there, mister? Can I help you somehow? Please!"
But again nobody was answering.
Chapter 7: Annoying riddles
Henry really felt awful. He had seen Boris with his chest opened, and heard a man moaning from inside an organ. What was this place? Dreams definitely didn't come true in here, unless they were nightmares. The little boy would definitely have nightmares later, that was sure. He didn't like being here anymore... He had thought this was a fun place, maybe he'd find a few nice people, like Wally or Miss Campbell. But... there was nobody. He just didn't want to be alone anymore...
He watched some sort of small ink waterfall next to a Sammy Lawrence sign to calm himself down and try to forget the bad memories. It was showing him that he was the music director of this company. That man seemed to be very important, Henry wondered why he had never heard of him or anything else in here before. Maybe they just liked imagining that they were successful and well known? He would understand that.
There was a pump switch inside the room in front of him, and he wondered how he could get inside. The ink was stopping him from getting in there by bursting out of a broken pipe above the door. How could he stop the ink from flowing through that pipe?
The eight year old noticed another audio log next to a Bendy poster. Recognizing the name on it he cheered, "Another tape from Wally! Yay!" He quickly pressed the play button and listened, a smile on his face.
So I go to get my dust pan from my hall closet the other day and guess what? I can't find my stupid keys. It's like they disappeared into thin air or something. All I can think of is that they must have fallen into one of the garbage cans as I was making my rounds last week. I just hope nobody tells Sammy. Because if he finds out I lost my keys again, I'm outta here.
Was he always saying 'I'm outta here'? He had said it twice in his recordings now. It seemed to be his standard line or something. Maybe Henry had to find his keys to get into that room? He should look into the garbage cans and see if he could find these keys. But he was actually quite amused by the fact that Sammy and Wally didn't get along too well. Sammy didn't seem to have much patience and Wally seemed to regularly lose stuff, so it was actually very understandable.
The next few minutes he walked around, searching for the garbage can Wally's keys had fallen into. It took him a while, and he really didn't like the fact he had to grab something inside a garbage can. Who knew what had been in there before? If the boy found him later he'd definitely give him his keys back. That poor guy was probably still wondering where they were.
He opened one door with it, leading to a small room with a big shelf in it. There was another recording from Sammy, probably a clue how to het to the pump switch.
Every artist person needs a sanctuary. Joey has his his and I have mine. To enter you need only know my favorite song:
He started to talk about playing these instruments in a weird way that made the boy feel as if he had a connection with them the boy would never understand. Henry cocked his head, wondering how he, a little boy who tried to do nothing wrong, ended up in a situation like this. Fate, probably.
Sing my song and my sanctuary will open for you.
This whole audio log was more confusing than actually helping. What was going on in Sammy's mind? Was he crazy? Crazy... crazy weird...
He remembered Norman Polk's audio log. He had said Sammy would turn on the projector, run down as fast as he could and not come out for hours, probably while being in his secret sanctuary. Strange how nobody knew about that. The room somehow had to be renovated or something, didn't it?
So Henry just had to do the same as Sammy. Turn on the projector, play the instruments and enter Sammy's sanctuary. There was probably something to drain the way to the exit. That was actually quite reasonable if you thought about it...
The eight year old smiled happily and ran to the projector booth. He turned it on, and ran back downstairs as fast as he could, almost bumping against one of the chairs. Henry remembered the instruments, looked around the room... and froze. He could not really tell the difference between some of the instruments. Was the piano that one in this room or the organ in the other room? Weren't they both pianos? What was the difference between a bass and a violin? Was the violin that thing lying on the chair? Maybe he was acting dumb, but he had no idea about instruments. At all.
Before he could decide the projector turned off with a click that made him jump and wheel around. The little boy looked back at the instruments, decided which one was probably what was meant and run back, sighing. When he was up there he noticed a Bendy cutout leaning against one of the chairs. How had it got there so fast? It didn't make sense! Was Bendy trying to scare him again? This was not very nice...
He ran down a second time, only to find the cutout gone. Looking up to the booth, he realized Bendy was up there now. How was that cutout moving so fast? Could it teleport? Did it have magic powers?
He played the first instrument, but realized it was the second instrument he had to play. Oh god, how could he forget the right order?
This continued for a while. Henry ran up and down, doing something wrong or playing the last instrument too late. Doing it wrong over and over again didn't make him concentrate more on the riddle, it did the exact opposite. But what should you expect from someone his age? He didn't have the ability to learn by heart the order by just hearing it once, so he listened to the recording three more times. It was getting annoying and pretty exhausting for the little boy. It would already be for an adult, but his legs were way shorter than the legs of the people here and he was carrying both an axe and a banjo tied on his back. And with every time he turned on the projector and rushed up and down another cutout appeared to stare at him, either from the instrument room or projector booth, depending on where he was.
"I really hope you're having fun doing that!" Henry shouted up the twentieth time he had tried to solve the puzzle. "Because I don't! This is just...stupid! How can someone decide 'Hey, this riddle is fun'. It's not!" He sighed. "Sorry for yelling at you, it's just... this place is starting to give me bad vibes. I didn't mean to be mean. I'm really sorry, Bendy..."
He just stopped for a while, catching his breath and calming down, until he did the riddle for the last time, this time being successful. The sanctuary next to the recording booth slowly opened and the child sighed in relief. No more running! No more stupid riddles!
He walked into the sanctuary with a weak smile on his face, tired from all the running. The boy just wanted to sleep at this point. If there wasn't a bed he would just lie down on the floor. He really didn't care about it anymore at this point.
There were some instruments leaning against the wall, but he passed them, not wanting to deal with any instrument anymore. It was enough he was carrying that banjo. Why had he even been carrying it the whole time? It had just slowed him down!
Rubbing his tired eyes, Henry stepped further inside and reached a room with a wheel for the ink flow, another banjo leaning against a desk which was close to an ink filled toilet. Ugh, yuck! They even had the ink in their toilets! Unbelievable! Did they even realize how disgusting that was?
He looked at the ink messages on the wall above the desk. SING A HAPPY SONG, WHISTLE A MARRY TUNE. WAIT FOR HIS ARRIVAL, HE'S COMING VERY SOON. Reading this rhyme, Henry wondered if Sammy was the one writing on all of the walls. If so, Henry would need to have a serious talk with him. Writing on walls was a bad thing to do, every mother taught this to their children. If Sammy's mother hadn't done that she was bad. Or maybe Sammy was just being so annoyed he wanted to cost Joey Drew money?
The eight year old turned the wheel for the ink flow. Maybe now he was able to go into Sammy's office. Or something was holding him back another time. The second option seemed more likely. This place seemed to like doing that to him.
Chapter 8: A new friend
Henry was heading back, wondering if there really wasn't anybody else in here who could help him, when one of the Bendy cutouts peeked around the corner next to the basses. The eight year old screamed in surprise and stumbled backwards, falling down to the ground. Maybe he shouldn't be so terrified, it was just a cutout and it had happened before, but the little boy was inside a more and more scary place with very annoying riddles. Sometimes it just felt like this place was haunted. It was so creepy.
Sighing, the little boy slowly got up. "Why do you always have to scare me, Bend? Aren't we friends? Or do you just like being mischievous?" he asked. "I don't like it. If you really are my friend, stop it." He really hoped Bendy saw him as his friend.
He walked out of the sanctuary, but he couldn't help but feeling... watched. He shivered in fear and looked around, but couldn't see anybody until he looked up. Next to the projector booth with Norman Polk's recording was another room, and some creepy looking person was looking down at him, slowly moving back and forth. As far as Henry could tell it was the man who had carried the cutout before, a person made out of ink wearing a Bendy mask and an overall.
"Um... h-hello, M-mister!" the boy squeaked. But the man didn't show any reaction. Instead the little boy heard splashing and moaning, and a group of ink beings appeared in front of him. Was that supposed to scare him...? It definitely didn't, these things were adorable and completely harmless.
"Oh, hello there," Henry beamed. "I would address you by your names if I knew them, but I don't even know what species you-"
The ink creatures jumped back into the paddles they came from, leaving the boy as confused as you can be when people just come to leave immediately.
"-are... why do you always have to go? I don't want to be alone!" He sniffed, looking up at the strange man. "Why are you all so mean? I want friends and you all leave!" But the man didn't seem to be bothered by anything the boy was saying. He was still staring down, remaining silent. Maybe he couldn't talk...?
Henry finally decided to continue his journey to get out of this place. He walked out of the room, searching for a second wheel. He just knew there had to be more than one.
When he walked around he also returned to the infirmary, and the area downstairs had been drained. What he was searching was probably down there. The boy took a deep breath before slowly stepping down. Who knew what was waiting there?
Henry eyeballed a sign above the stairs. NOTICE: ANYONE FOUND FAKING ILLNESS WILL BE DOCKED A FULL WEEK'S WAGES. NOT SICK. NOT PAID. For them to put a sign like this up there had to be a lot of employees faking illness. Was it that bad to work here?
The first things that he saw were a bunch of chairs. There was ink splashed over the ground and a bed was on the other side of the room. There was a lever he could pull for the utility access, but the wheel he had to turn was missing. "Where could it be? Did someone take it?"
There was another stair leading even deeper down. UTILITY SHAFT NINE. "Guess I have to pull the lever first then..." When he did it loud sounds came from down the stairs. He quickly rushed down, wanting to see what was going on there. A door was opening, revealing new words on the wall. WE ARE ALL SINNERS DOWN HERE. Wow, he really wouldn't have expected Sammy to be one of the religious type.
"Yuck, it smells awful in here! Is that the sewer? Do I really need to go in there?" he questioned. Henry really didn't like the thought. He had heard horror stories about sewers, and he really didn't want to end up dead. But how would he get out then? There was no other way.
He carefully stepped into the ink that was flowing along the way. On his right side was a huge pipe. The boy could probably crawl in there, but he wasn't too fond of this thought. On his left side, however, was a Ink creature hiding behind two planks which were blocking his way. It was wearing a nice hat and was holding the wheel in his hands. Or claws.
He slowly approached it. "Hello, could you please give this-"
The creature jumped back into the ink. "What did just happen?" the boy asked, destroying the planks with his axe. "Why is everyone going away? I haven't hurt anyone, have I?"
He noticed words on the wall which he hadn't seen because the creature had been right in front of it. THE SHEEP WILL COME TO SLAUGHTER. Oh my god, there were sheep here?! But why would anyone want to hurt them? Sheep were adorable, weren't they? Why was Sammy becoming so mean?
There was a very long, dark hallway, and the horrible smell didn't make it any better. The eight year old boy was surprised when he found a desk and a chair on a small platform, as well as a violin, another audio recording and papers lying all over the floor. Who could possibly work here when there was this horrible smell? They would either need a blocked nose or put a clothespin on it.
The audio log was labeled Jack Fain. For the first time Henry wondered who was leaving the recordings for him. These people couldn't just have left them so everyone could listen to them. If Sammy ever heard Wally's last recording he would probably throw a tantrum. Maybe it was this creepy guy who had stared at him? Whatever, he had other things to do now. This recording might give him instructions on how to get the ink being to give back that wheel.
I love the quiet, and that's hard to come by these busy days. And yeah sure it might stink to high heaven down here. But it's just perfect for an old lyricist like me. Sammy's songs always got some bounce, but if I didn't get away once in a while, they'd never have any words to go with them. So I'll keep my mind a-singin' and my nose closed.
Poor guy. Sammy had his sanctuary to get into while Jack Fain was stuck in the sewer. This wasn't fair. Did Sammy not know what sharing meant?
Shaking his head in disbelief, the boy took the recording. It might help him to distract the creature. He could have taken the violin, too, but he couldn't play it and he wasn't sure if the ink creature wouldn't break it. He didn't want to make more problems for Jack than he already had.
He got into a big room with two big tanks with levers on them. The ink creature with the hat was right under a package of boxes that were held by ropes. If he pulled this levers, would it crush...? No, he was not going to hurt anyone!
He stepped closer to it, but as soon as he got near the creature jumped back into the ink again only to appear a few feet away.
"Are we... playing tag now...?" the boy asked. "I don't really want to play now."
He approached the creature again, only with the same result. "Come on, I'm not going to hurt you!" The creature cocked its head as if it was listening and wondering if it could trust him. "I'm only a kid! Why should I hurt you?" But his kind words didn't make the ink being give the wheel to him, it still absconded from him on his third attempt.
His lips escaped a frustrated sigh. Henry sat down on the ground and held the audio recording up in the air as the creature watched in curiosity. "Do you know what this is? I'm pretty sure you can hear, so I'm going to play this for you." He pressed the play button and looked at the hat wearing ink creature, ready to take the wheel when it got distracted.
It froze, listening to the voice as if it knew it before starting to jump up and down and screeching when it had ended, letting go of the wheel. Henry had expected a lot, but definitely not this reaction. He quickly jumped up and rushed to the creature who was putting his hands over his not visible ears. It didn't motion, just stared at the recording in shock. A feeling of guilt suffused Henry. This was his fault.
"I-I am so s-sorry, I d-didn't mean t-to scare you," the boy stuttered, going into a kneeing position and slowly putting his arms around the creature. "I'm sorry!" The creature pulled him into a wet hug, but it didn't feel bad. Just different than he was used to. It was shaking and whimpered, so he started rubbing its back in circles just like his mother did.
It seemed to show an effect pretty soon. The creature had calmed down enough to point to the recording with a shaking hand and then look at him. It confused the little boy. What did it want to tell him?
"Um... I am not sure what you mean. Do you want me to play it again or...?" It pointed on the recording a second time, than on itself. It took a few seconds for the boy to realize what it meant. "You... you recorded this? You are... Jack Fain?" Henry questioned.
The ink creature nodded, before jumping around in excitement. Giggling, the boy picked up the wheel and looked at his new friend. "I'm trying to get out of here. Do you want to come with me?"
Jack nodded, hugging the boys leg. Henry smiled. Looks like he wasn't alone anymore.
Chapter 9: Sammy
Walking up the stairs with Jack, Henry cleared his throat. "Alright, so... I have two questions. First, how do I address you? Can I call you Jack or Mister Fain or..." Jack stopped, and the boy watched in confusion as he took some of the ink he was built of and wrote JACK on the wall, before looking back at him, waiting for a reaction. He didn't quite understand the reason for this behavior, he acted more like a terrified child than an adult, but he wouldn't judge his new friend. The lyricist had been down there for a long time with no company and was not even human anymore as far as the little boy could tell.
"Jack will it be then... Hello, Jack, I'm Henry. It's nice to meet you! But... how did this happen? You haven't always been an ink creature, have you?" the eight year old asked the lyricist. "Y-you don't have to tell me about it if you don't want to!"
Jack thought about this question for a moment before writing more on the wall. THE LIAR DID THIS TO US. The liar? Who was that? Was it the same guy as the creator? After all someone had written the creator lied to us. But who was even 'us'? The boy just didn't understand... he needed answers...
His new friend must have seen the questioning look on Henry's face because he scribbled, NOT NOW. YOU ARE IN DANGER IF YOU STAY. AFTER HIS TRANSFORMATION HE WENT CRAZY. I DON'T WANT YOU TO BE NEXT. Who was he talking about? Who was 'he'? What would he do to him if he caught him?
But before he could ask Jack took the wheel out of his hand only to disappear into the ink and jump out right in front of the pipe it belonged to. "Jack, wait for me!" the boy shouted, running up the stairs, but the ink creature had already put it back in and slowly turned it. The boy heard splashing and moaning, coming from another room far away. "W-what was that? Who was that?"
MURRAY HILL. VERY AGGRESSIVE. LIKE EVERYONE. DON'T GO THERE. HE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST LIKE ME.
"One of the first? What do you mean?" The boy asked. "And why is he aggressive? Did someone hurt him?"
Jack Fain just shrugged and crawled in the direction of Sammy's office. The boy knew he wouldn't get any information out of his friend and decided it was best just to follow him and wait for the right time. After all, he could ask again later, when they got out.
The lyricist stopped in front of the room with the organ and stared at it for a second before writing the name JOHNNY on the door. Was this the person who was moaning every time Henry played the keys?
They made their way to Sammy's office, and Henry slowly opened the door. The pump switch was directly in front of them. Smiling, the little boy stepped closer and pulled it down. Then he looked around the room, searching for a clues. He had been long enough in the studio to know little details were important.
IT'S TIME TO BELIEVE. Believe in who or what? Henry wasn't sure he understood that message. On the right side of the room was a work desk with a construction plan of the ink machine. The eight year old picked it up and examined the plan. It was really called ink machine! Both Wally and Murray seemed to have been working on it... Murray was some kind of repairman for every malfunction of the machine. But why was the janitor involved? Wait a second, why was it even called 'version two'? There were two ink machines? Were was the second one? And why was there a second one anyway?
Someone tugged at his sleeve. He looked down at Jack who seemed quite nervous and scared. "What's wrong?" the boy asked, frowning.
The lyricist pointed at the doorway and Henry turned around to see another ink creature which was wearing a mine hat, crawling closer, growling aggressively.
"Murray Hill..." the boy muttered. Jack nodded, hugging the boy's leg in fear.
Henry had brought back Jack by playing his audio recording to him. He hadn't seen any recording of the repairman, but maybe seeing his name on the plan would snap him out of this state? The boy turned the construction plan in Murray's direction and waited for him to come closer while Jack stared up at him, probably thinking he was a naive little boy or just completely insane.
The ink being stopped and looked at the plan for a moment before making a disturbing screaming sound and disappearing in one of the ink puddles.
"I don't think this worked..." the boy sighed, letting go of the paper. It fell on the ground and got soaked with ink. "The way to the exit should be drained now. We can leave."
He walked out of the room with Jack following him, and down the hallway to get to the exit. He was relieved to get out of this place. Something here was just... wrong. People who weren't human anymore, cutouts appearing everywhere a moaning organ and a real looking Boris with his chest opened, exposing his insides...
When they were almost there his friend suddenly stopped and grabbed his arm. "Jack? We are almost there, don't be afraid." The lyricist shook his head and put one of his fingers on his mouth. "I-is something there?" the boy asked quietly to which he replied with a nod. "Then we wait..."
The ink puddle on the wall next to them began to bubble. The bubbles started to pop. Jack flinched, and the boy watched as he quickly crawled away and disappeared into another ink puddle. "N-no! Jack, don't leave me! What is-"
A hit on the back of his head silenced him. He fell on the ground, falling unconscious. Watching the man with the mask stare down at him, a dustpan in his hand.
"Rest your head. It's time for bed," he said in a calm voice as Henry opened his eyes for the last time before he lost consciousness.
Henry slowly drifted back into reality, his head feeling numb. Why was it feeling numb...? What had happened? His hands were tied up behind his back. He didn't know how long he had been in this position, but it felt very uncomfortable.
"There we go now. Nice and tight. We wouldn't want our sheep roaming away now, would we?"
The eight year old opened his eyes and looked at the strange human looking being in front of him. It was completely made of ink, had a Sixpack and was wearing a mask. He had seen the face on the mask before... Henry knew this voice. He had heard it before. But where...?
"No, we wouldn't," the inky man answered his own question. Why was he speaking of himself in plural? It sounded weird.
Wait, an audio recording! He had heard this voice in an audio recording. It was... Sammy Lawrence, the music director ! And the mask he was wearing was a Bendy mask! Henry noticed the axe the music director man was holding and gulped. Was he going to hurt him? Please, no! He hadn't done anything wrong. Just why was this man waving the axes around like that?
"I must admit, I am... honored you came all the way down here to visit me."
How hard had he been hit? Was he bleeding? He hoped he wasn't. A wound on the back of his head sounded like it could have damaged his brain. He had heard people were never the same after these kind of injuries. He really didn't like the thought. "I d-didn't come b-because of-"
"It makes what I am about to do seem... cruel," Sammy continued. Had he even noticed the boy had said anything? Walking to a pillar and leaning the axe against it next to the banjo Henry had been carrying, he said, "But the believers must honor their savior. I must have him notice me." He came back to him, but then he suddenly leaned forward and touched Henry's face. "Wait, you look so young. You are... not like you should be. But... you also look familiar to me... that face... Have we met before?" The little boy felt the cold hand resting on his face. Both hands only had four fingers on it... like a cartoon character. What had been done to theses people working here?
Henry shook his head. "N-no. Well, you did stare down at me from the projector booth, but we haven't officially-"
"Not now." Sammy shook his head, and took a few steps backwards. "For my lord is calling to us, my little sheep. The time of sacrifice is at hand!"
"I'm not a-"
"And then, I will finally be freed from this... prison. This inky... dark... abyss I call a body," Sammy spat out, seemingly disgusted of himself. Henry felt pity for him, even though he had tied him up and was trying to... sacrifice him for no reason at all.
"I am so sorry for you, Mister Lawrence! How can I help you?"
"Lawrence?" The man asked, putting one hand at his chin. "Lawrence... Who is that? Are you talking about me, my little sheep? I am and have always been the prophet of our benevolent lord. There is no other title given to me."
"No, you are Sam-"
"Shhhhh! Quiet! Listen!" The boy rolled his eyes, fed up with getting interrupted by the music director all the time. How many times had he done it so far? Three times?
There was a faint sound of something crawling through the vents or pipes, and it made his flesh creep. "I can hear him! Crawling above. Crawling!" Sammy did something very weird with his fingers. Watching this man have his monologue and do these gestures was actually kinda fun.
"It's hard to overhear it, actually," the eight year old muttered. "Very hard to be honest."
Sammy Lawrence turned back to him and said in a cheerful voice, "Let us begin! The ritual must be completed. Soon he will hear me." To Henry's surprise, the man leaned forward again and whispered, "He will set us free."
With these final words, he walked away to a door on Henry's right and left through it, leaving the boy alone to free himself from the rope.
A splashing sound caught his attention and he looked on his left. "Jack!" he gasped. "I thought you wouldn't come back! But we really need to talk about leaving the other one to get knocked out. That's not nice."
One of the speaker on the other side of the room cracked and both Henry and Jack listened to the music director's voice, coming out of it.
Chapter 10: New lord and savior
"Sheep sheep sheep, it's time for sleep. Rest your head, it's time for bed. In the morning, you may wake. Or in the morning, you'll be dead." Sammy Lawrence's voice came through the speakers in the room. Henry had no idea why he was speaking in rhymes, but if it made the man happy he wouldn't complain about it. The boy actually felt... pity for him. He had been all alone in this strange ink body, unable to talk to anyone. The ink creatures, or whatever they were called, always disappeared into the ink, when you got near them. The only things which usually stayed on their places were the Bendy cutouts. He must have been lonely.
Jack tried to untie Henry, but seemed to have trouble with his inky hands. He noticed the lyricist seemed nervous and looked around all the time as if he feared someone or something coming to attack them. Why was he so scared? Why were they in such a hurry? The eight year old didn't understand any of it, and it just confused him. This situation was just so... bizarre. There couldn't possibly be anything dangerous, right?
"Hear me, Bendy!" The light above the door on the other side of the room turned on. The room started shaking as the door slowly opened. Henry couldn't help but giggle. This man was really worshipping a cartoon character! But when he looked at the lyricist he immediately stopped giggling and was worried about his friend who had started whimpered and shivering, and the boy wished his hands were free so he could hug and comfort him another time. Why would he freak out if there wasn't something very dangerous nearby?
"Arise from the darkness! Arise and claim my offering! Free me! I beg you!" Jack had given up trying to untie the little boy. Instead he crawled in the direction of the axe and picked it up, but then he froze and looked up to one of the speakers, cocking his head. What was he doing? Did he maybe recognize that voice? He should, Sammy was the music director and he the lyricist. Maybe he hadn't been in contact with him too much? Or it was because he couldn't really think before he met Henry?
"I summon you, ink demon! Show your face and take this tender sheep!" Sammy shouted. Something in his tone scared Henry. What was going to happen to him? Whatever it was it couldn't be good. Ink creatures like Jack seemed like they could sense something lurking around sometimes.
When Jack finally managed to cut the rope the tone of Sammy's voice suddenly shifted. "No! My lord! Stay back!" he screamed in fear. The little boy looked up to the speakers, wondering what was going on while the lyricist crawled in the direction of the door that had opened to get out. "I am your prophet! I am your- AAAHHH!!"
Then there was only silence. The silence made Henry very uncomfortable. What if the music director was...? No, he wouldn't even think about that. He had to stay positive. He could only hope Sammy was alright and maybe try to help him.
Jack growled loudly and motioned Henry to follow him to the new way out, but the boy shook his head. "We need to help him! He possibly got hurt! Please! I need to help him!" The ink creature made a sound that seemed to closely resemble a sigh before giving Henry the axe. He had probably realized there was no way this stubborn little kid would listen to him.
"Thank you!" Henry beamed, grabbed the banjo as well, and ran towards the door hitting it multiple times with almost no effect on it. It took him a few attempts to actually hit a hole in there and he still struggled to reach through it and turn the door knob from inside, but eventually the door opened, revealing a small dark recording booth. There were three microphones hanging from the ceiling and the book Joey Drew had written, The Illusion of Living, was lying on a desk in front of an overthrown chair. Ink was dripping from above and on the book, effacing the words. He hadn't wanted to read it anyway.
"Mister Lawrence?" he asked, carefully stepping inside while Jack was staying in front of the doorway. "Mister Lawrence, are you still... here?" There came a faint whimper from a dark corner. It looked more like an ink puddle than a human being, but Henry figured that creatures made of ink wouldn't be too stable. He could make out two arms and a head, but they looked as if they could fall back into the ink at any moment. As far as the boy could tell, Sammy faced the opposite direction, as if avoiding eye contact.
He approached the puddle that made a weak attempt to escape by moving to the left side. "Um... I am a child, Mister. I could never actually hurt you. I just want to help you. There is no need to run... or whatever you are doing," he said calmly.
"Why should you even consider helping me? I tried to sacrifice you to a false lord," Sammy responded in a bitter tone. A deformed hand reached out of the puddle and grabbed the Bendy mask lying next to it. There was a huge hole on the left side of the mouth. The music director growled in frustration when he saw it. "I can't hide every part of it anymore... how unfortunate. What were we talking about again?" He put the mask in front of his face, turning back to Henry.
"You were trying to sacrifice me. You didn't succeed," Henry replied, frowning. Something was wrong with the man's memory. He couldn't recall things that had happened less than a minute ago. The boy hoped it was temporary, but Sammy had already showed his lack of memory in his monologue. He glanced to the door to see what Jack thought about it, but he was still at the doorway, watching the prophet without being seen by him.
"Yes, I can recall it.... He rejected my offering. My lord... He BETRAYED me! He ABANDONED me! He left me to ROTT! He is no true lord! No lord attempts to kill his prophet! I TRUSTED you! I gave you EVERYTHING!" His voice was getting louder and shriller, and his body slowly turned back to the original ink form. He was in a kneeling position looking up and screaming at Henry who covered his ears and threw the banjo at him in an attempt to silence him.
Surprisingly, it worked. As soon as the music director was hit by the banjo he stopped and looked at it. Henry couldn't really tell if it was shock or something else, but it did seem to calm the man down. He examined the instruments and plucked a few strings, probably to try out if it could still play. "My... banjo. It has been so long since I have last... seen it... so many years since I... played it."
"I found it were you asked, 'Can I get an amen?'. I still don't know how you managed to sneak up on me and scare me like that. Could you please tell me? Pretty please?" Henry questioned, but the music director didn't react. "M-mister Lawrence...? Are you alright?"
"You... you could be the one," he murmured quietly before looking at the eight year old.
"The one to free us all. The one to free us from this inky dark abyss! Our voices might finally be heard! My lord... my lord and savior..." The man lowered his head in a deferential way. Henry was speechless for a moment. He... a lord? Freeing everyone? He didn't even know what was going on in this studio! He didn't even know the people in here! And how could he free anyone? He was just a little boy.
"I... I am not a lord or a savior. I am a child, Mister," he responded, "but definitely not a lord."
"Oh. Then... my child?"
He heard a snort coming from the door. The boy turned around to see Jack slowly crawling inside. Apparently he had lost his fear. Sammy stood up from the ground and looked at the lyricist. "What right do you have to laugh about the prophet of our lord and savior?!"
"Calm down, that's just Jack. I think you know him? He is the lyricist," Henry said, smiling at the music director. This man might be crazy, but it seemed like he had made a new friend. With their help, he would definitely get out of here soon.
WAS, Jack wrote on the wall. I HAVEN'T BEEN WRITING ANY LYRICS FOR A LONG TIME.
"Or was," Henry corrected, wondering how long it had actually been. He hadn't heard anything about cartoons, so it was possibly not for very long. Maybe he just thought it had been a long time?
"My lord, why does he get the privilege of being called by his forename?" Sammy asked.
Henry was quite surprised by this. He hadn't thought the music director would have wanted a child to call him by his first name. In the audio logs he had sounded like he wouldn't want people to do so unless they were close friends or workers. "You want me to call you... Sammy? Are you sure, Mister Lawrence?"
"Sammy... Lawrence... That's my name? I think it is... it sounds right... I remember being called by this name..."
"Alright Sammy, you can call me Henry."
"Henry? That name sounds familiar to me..."
"I think there might be someone else who is called Henry. I have found a letter in my pocket addressed to someone with the same name. I will show it to you later, we need to get out of here first." Jack gave a nod in agreement.
"We need to be fast then. My- The ink demon has a very good sense of hearing, and he doesn't like it when people try to leave."
Chapter 11: Run
"Are you sure I shouldn't hold the axe, my lord?" Sammy asked him while they walked down the dark hallway. The man hadn't returned to his original ink form yet, and Henry didn't know how long it would take him to stabilize enough. The music director seemed to lack a lot of ink, so he was only a head or so taller than Henry was and thinner than he was before. He was also not wearing the overall anymore because it had melted back into ink which made the boy wonder what was made of ink as well.
"Like I told you before, my name is Henry, so stop calling me lord, please," the boy replied, "and I feel much safer with the axe. I'm not going to use it to hurt anyone, but I really like having a weapon to protect myself with if anything attacks me. It also makes me feel... special. It's a little bit like I am a hero in a gigantic war!"
Henry smiled at his friends, but then he noticed that both seemed pretty traumatized. Jack shivered and Sammy winced, and the kid's smile slowly faded. "Guys...? A-are you alright?" he asked. Had he said something wrong? He didn't mean to make anyone feel bad!
"Oh, yes, sorry my - Henry. The word war just does not awake very... pleasant memories," Sammy replied.
The eight year old destroyed the planks in their way, trying to decide whether or not to ask about it. He was curious, but both musicians didn't seem to like thinking about the word war. It was such a simple word, certainly not always meaning something good, but he wouldn't have expected that kind of reaction. Had there been a war somewhere? He should have heard about it from his father if it really was a brutal or massive one.
When he hit the last wooden plank in his way something unexpected happened: the axe broke. For a second he just stood there, staring at the stick he was holding in his hands. "Oh, come on! Are you kidding me?" There was a short corridor in front of him with ink covering the floor, but there was another exit door. He was about to go there, but Sammy grabbed his arm. "H-hey!"
"This place likes toying with you. You think you archived your goal, but then something stops you. This seems like a trap," Sammy said, before letting go of his arm. "We should go the other way. At least consider my opinion on it, my lor- Henry."
HE'S RIGHT, Jack wrote, IT FEELS OFF. THIS STUDIO HAS ALWAYS WORKED THIS WAY. The boy didn't know what to think, when he read the last sentence. What did the lyricist mean?
The eight year old sighed. They did have a point. Every time he had been near the exit so far, something had stopped him. But that was pretty pessimistic, wasn't it? "...if you think so, we can turn left as well. I think both of you might be a little paranoid, but I see your point."
When Henry made a step on the left side, however, a tall creature suddenly emerged from the ink in the flooded corridor, roaring at them. The boy stumbled backwards with a terrified scream, staring at the tall Bendy in shock. He didn't notice that Jack dragged him away from the ink demon, only saw Bendy limping to him with a twitching smile, reaching out his giant hand to catch him. Why was he doing that? Maybe he was just trying to keep everyone from running away.
But there was an unexplained feeling, fear, that awoke him from his trance. He couldn't really explain why he even felt it, he just did. The little boy started running as well, which made Jack letting him go and starting to teleport through the ink puddles, but not without glancing over his shoulder to see where the other musician was.
Sammy was frozen, muttering, "My lord..." a couple of times. Only three seconds before Bendy reached him he seemed to remember what had happened to him by his former lord's hands. "N-no! N-not anymore! Never AGAIN!" The music director was way faster than Henry would have ever expected from someone made of ink. He almost overran the eight year old and grabbed both the confused boy, thrusting his banjo into his hands, and then the lyricist. How strong could a person be?
They finally reached the end of the corridor with an opened door, and Sammy sprinted into the room, immediately letting go of Jack and Henry, the latter of whom falling on the ground with a cry, and blocked the door with a wooden beam. "This... this should stop him for a while..." he panted. "That was close!"
Henry jumped, when he heard banging against the door, but started to calm down as the door didn't break. It was safe in here, he couldn't get caught. Jack, however, didn't seem to think the same. He was hugging the boy's leg again, shivering in fear.
He actually felt kinda sorry for Bendy or the ink demon or what else he was called. It seemed as if he had tried to hurt him, sure, but somehow Bendy just looked sad and lonely. Just why did some part of him always think he was dangerous? He hadn't hurt him so far, had he?
"We should still leave, before he suddenly walks through one of the walls," Sammy sighed, picking up the banjo from the ground. "It would not end too good for us, unless we had a weapon, like a tommy gun."
The boy gasped, "He can walk through walls?! This is awesome!"
"Don't smile about it, Henry. The ink demon does not use this power without meaning harm to someone," the musician replied, "He lurks through the darkness, listening to the whispers of the ones lost among the ink. If he hears a word said in this place the person speaking is most likely to be his next victim." Sammy surprisingly sounded much more sane than he had before, and the eight year old hoped this wasn't just temporary. He didn't want to be called 'my lord' ever again.
"Why would he ever hurt somebody?" Henry questioned, quaking with fear at the thought. "That's a really bad thing! Hurting people doesn't make them be your friend. Why would he ever-?"
"Not now. We need to find a place to hide in before the ink demon gets here." Sammy was right, he knew it, but the boy was getting tired of not getting any answers. Not now... Later... Adults would never tell you anything you wanted to know. Meanies.But even though the boy was annoyed by this he knew throwing a tantrum wouldn't solve anything, so he decided to just go with it for now.
"Alright," he sighed. "But you two are going to explain everything later!" His friends nodded, and he smiled happily. "Good!"
Sammy opened the door on the other side of the room, peeking inside. "As far as I can see there's nobody in here... oh, there is a sign saying there's a lift nearby. Who made this sign? It should say elevator." Shaking his head, the music director stepped inside followed by Henry and the nervous lyricist.
All three of them froze when a bacon soup can rolled out from a dark corner.
"Who is there?" Sammy asked, "Come out and show yourself, you coward, unless you want me to-"
"Sammy, stop threatening this person! They might be nice!" Henry reprimanded, before turning back to the person hiding in the dark corner. "You can come out! We won't hurt you, I promise! Sammy is just not in a good mood right now."
Henry's eyes dilated when he saw who came out of the darkness. "B-boris?" He was alive. But what was with the Boris whose chest had been ripped open? Was this the same Boris? It had to be. "Boris!" The boy ran to the surprised wolf and hugged him tightly.
Chapter 12: The safe house
The place Boris had taken them was the first area Henry actually felt completely safe in. He liked it there even though it wasn't very tidy and a bad smell came from the ink filled toilets in the bathroom. Sammy said this had been the janitor's safe house once, and the little boy was glad he had found the place. He just wished Wally to be here as well, that would be great fun. Yes, playing cards with Sammy, Jack and Boris had been fun the first few days, but it had started to get boring after a while, and he couldn't really play hide and seek because the place was too small.
He had originally hoped to sleep on the hammock, but Sammy did not want that and insisted the eight year old would sleep in the bed instead because he needed to rest and probably wouldn't even be able to sleep on the hammock. Henry didn't understand that logic, but he had to obey anyway.
Speaking about Sammy, he had quickly returned to his previous form and also received a fitting overall from Boris, who had plenty of them for some reason. Henry was quite surprised, when he saw that most of them were smaller sized than Boris', but then figured they must have belonged to other people like Wally or Mister Connor.
It was their sixth day in the safe house, when the boy woke up by a quiet splash. He slowly opened his eyes, yawning loudly, and sat up, looking at Jack who was crawling to his bed. "Good morning, Jack! How are you doing? Did you sleep well?"
His friend didn't answer immediately, and just looked at him for a few seconds. Henry could hear Sammy playing his banjo in the other room. Then he dipped one finger into his ink and started writing on the wall. NOBODY IN HERE EVER SLEEPS.
"Nobody?" the boy repeated in disbelief. "That's terrible! How can you not sleep at all? Everyone has to sleep! It's unhealthy if you don't!"
WE DON'T NEED TO. NOT EVEN SURE IF ANYONE ACTUALLY CAN, the lyricist explained through his writing. He looked at the boy for a second before making his way to the door.
"What do you mean?" Henry asked, but the ink creature had already crawled out of the room. The boy was more than just a little confused to say the least, and stood up from his bed, following the lyricist to the 'kitchen' where both Sammy and Boris were sitting. The wolf was smiling, but the little boy was sure he had seen some disturbing things, just like him. After all, his chest had been ripped open before. Henry still hadn't figured out who would do something this cruel, but he had the feeling he would find out soon enough.
As he stepped closer Sammy raised his head to look at him, and the eight year old stared in the pie eyes of the Bendy mask, wondering why he was wearing it now. How could he see while he was wearing it? He wasn't worshipping Bendy anymore, why should he even keep it? It was even a little broken with a hole on its left side. Should he ask the music director about it directly?
"Oh, you are finally awake, Henry. I started to wonder if I should just wake you up, but I thought I should rather let you sleep until you wake up on your own," the musician greeted him, putting the banjo aside. "I didn't want you to wake up too early. That would most likely have major consequences."
"Jack woke me up, and it's completely fine. I'm used to having to wake up early, I don't need that much sleep. You really don't need to worry so much, Sammy," the kid giggled.
The man chuckled a little, before getting back to his serious tone. "Maybe you are right, but this place is anything but safe. I don't know all about everything that happened, my mind is still pretty fuzzy, but as far as I can tell there is danger around every corner. If you become weary you tend to stop focusing and that is never good."
"Wait, so you want to go outside again?" Henry asked. "Just like that? I didn't know you were that spon... what is it called again... spontan... spontaneous."
The music director nodded. "Well, we need to get you out of here before it is too late, but unfortunately the lever is missing and Boris is hiding it. He is being pretty stubborn and refuses to give it to me or Jack, and I have no clue what exactly he wants from us." The boy was pretty sure Sammy was rolling his eyes behind his mask.
The other musician let out an annoyed growl and wrote, LIKE I SAID, IT'S PROBABLY FOOD.
"Nobody could be that-"
THIS IS BORIS, SAMMY. HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THAT. DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW HIS PRE-INKED SELF ACTED. Pre-inked self? They were talking about who they were before being ink creatures, that was sure. But Henry hadn't thought Boris might be an employee as well... no, they were probably wrong. It was just a toon, nobody would ever force someone into the role of a cartoon character. That would be... insane.
"Um... I will make him bacon soup then..." the little boy muttered and looked around for any bacon soup cans. He spotted one on top of a shelf, but he knew he was to short to actually reach it. There were two options, he could either ask Sammy for help or climb up there...
"Henry, no," the musician said and pulled him away from the shelf, taking the soup can from the shelf. "Do not do that."
"I wasn't doing anything!" Henry protested.
"You wanted to climb up there, I could see it in your face," the music director replied calmly. "I should better not let you do anything, you are just going to get hurt like any other child."
"You're no fun!" the boy pouted, crossing his arms, but the inky man ignored him. Someone tugged his sleeve and he turned to Jack, seeing he had already collected two cans himself.
Before the boy could react Sammy took them and walked to the pot on the stove, opening the cans and filling the soup into it. Within seconds it was finished and he put a bowl in front of Boris. The toon picked up a toolbox that was lying next to him and put it on the table. "You are not even going to eat the soup? Ugh, this is all so pointless." Shaking his head, Sammy opened the toolbox and took out the lever.
When the musician put the lever back and opened the door, the boy remembered something. Hadn't he seen a bone in the room he was sleeping in? What if he gave it to Boris? He was a good boy and deserved a little treat. He quickly rushed back to his sleeping place and looked around. Where had it been...? But then he found it, right next to an opened box. It was a very big bone and almost looked like a human one. He could only hope it wasn't.
"Henry? Henry, where are you?"
"I'm coming! Just wanted to get something!" he shouted, and picked up the bone, running back to his friends. They all stood outside, right next to the entrance, waiting for him. When Boris saw the bone in his hand he started wagging his tail. "Here you go, buddy! You deserve this!" Henry put the bone in the toon's mouth, and he almost immediately started chewing on it, smiling down at the little boy.
"No, he definitely doesn't, he didn't give us the lever," the music director muttered.
The eight year old boy ignored Sammy's comment and tried to pet Boris' head. He only succeeded when the wolf finally kneeled down. The lyricist shyly approached them, cocking his head and gurgling in a questioning tone. The boy at least thought it was questioning, he couldn't tell for sure. "Oh, you want to be pet, too?" The ink creature slowly nodded.
"Nobody is going to be pet anymore, and especially not Jack, he's an adult," Sammy said. Boris stood up again, growling at the man.
"You're mean," Henry murmured.
"I am realistic, kid. We need to find another way out now, before the ink demon realizes we left the safe house." He walked down the corridor, and the other three quickly followed him, passing a Miracle Station that looked like it was a hiding spot. Henry didn't feel well when he saw it, but he didn't know why. He stared at it and gulped. Why did he feel this meant something bad...?
"My lord, we can't go further. Our path leads us into the darkness." Sammy was the prophet again? He had actually thought Sammy would stay his normal self. Boris gave the boy a questioning look, but he just shrugged. How could he even explain it?
He turned to look at the inky man who was staring into the darkness. "Well, there has to be a light somewhere..." The boy glanced around and spotted one on the desk on his right side. Smiling, he picked it up and turned it on. "See? There's no need to be afraid." It was more addressed to himself than to the prophet or any of his other friends, but he wouldn't tell them.
The wolf whimpered and grabbed Henry's arm, while the lyricist hugged the boy's leg tightly. "Oh, you are afraid of the darkness...? That something... might be there? That's fine, I will protect you!"
"Me too, my lord?" Sammy asked.
"Only if you stop calling me that," Henry replied.
"O-of course my lo- Henry, I will!" Sammy responded.
With the toon and the two ink creatures following him, the boy made his way into the darkness. "Don't worry, guys, I will keep the light near you." He chuckled at the sight of Boris who refused to let go of him. This would be an interesting journey to the exit.
Chapter 13: Heavenly toys
There was a strange sound, as if someone was running above them, stomping. Henry jumped, Boris whimpered, covering his head with his cartoony hands, and Jack squeaked and hugged the boy's legs again, while Sammy grabbed a bacon soup can from the ground and held it above his head like a weapon. None of them looked like they could have any chance against an enemy.
"G-guys, d-did you hear that?" Henry whispered, his eyes wide open. Boris and Jack both nodded. Sammy didn't answer, he was just shaking. "S-sammy...? Are you...?"
"I am fine, my- Henry. I suggest we better keep going," the inky man replied, turning to the boy.
"Was that... the ink demon?" the eight year old asked curiously.
"No, it was definitely not the false lord, my little lord. He can not run that fast and he is limping. It would make a whole different sound. It is something else... but I don't know what," he responded quietly, slowly putting his hand down again and letting go of the can.
The group was silent as they continued their way through the darkness until they finally got to another room. It was still dark, but not as dark as in the hallway they had been in. They relaxed a little and Henry let out a sigh of relief. He hadn't thought that his friends would be so afraid of the dark. Perhaps it was because of the possibility of something hiding in the darkness? He really didn't know if he should ask them. He doubted Boris would answer, he couldn't talk and the little boy wasn't even sure if he could write.
Henry stared at the metal door blocking their way. He didn't have to solve another riddle, did he? "Does any of you have an idea how we could open this door?" he asked. Boris stepped closer, and he froze as the cartoon wolf took the light, and crawled into a small vent. "Uh... Boris? What are you...?"
"He is going to open the door for you. Or he is leaving us to die, taking our only light with him," Sammy responded in a calm voice. "The second option sounds more likely."
"Boris is our friend! He would never let us down!" Henry shouted, clenching his fists. "H-how can you even think that?!" Jack nodded in agreement, growling at the other musician.
"Whatever you say, Henry. I won't question my lord and savior," Sammy responded.
The boy would have said even more, but the door had already started to open, and he just sighed and decided to shrug it off. He would not start arguing with a person that had started to worship him.
The eight year old slowly walked further into the building, but what he saw when he passed a large print of Bendy's face was stunningly beautiful. It was the biggest room he had seen so far, with a gigantic ink waterfall behind a HEAVENLY TOYS sign. There were big plushies of Boris, one of them being double the size of the little boy while the other one was incredibly tiny. He looked around the area, his mouth wide opened. "This... this is beautiful." There were some Bendy cutouts stacked over one another on his right side and some leaning against the wall next to a giant Bendy plush on the left side, and for some reason he felt as if they would be important later. Why though? Would they scare him again later?
"A place full of wonder and belief, indeed. But we need to carry on now, Henry, before some other creatures spot us who are as dangerous as the ink demon. The Lost Ones said there is someone doing even more harm than the ink demon himself... wait, what were we talking about again?"
"Lost Ones?" the boy repeated. "Who are the Lost Ones?" Jack seemed interested as well. He had been in that sewer for a long time, so it was pretty clear he knew almost as much as Henry about the creatures that were crawling and lurking around.
"They are lost among the ink, more human looking, able to walk and intelligent than the other ink creatures. They are cursed, still remembering small bits of the life before the demon, but not enough to know who they are. You will recognize them when you see them," Sammy responded. His voice was soft, but still sad.
"Are you a Lost One, too?" Henry questioned.
The inky man shook his head, and held his left hand in front of Henry's face. "I have four fingers, unlike them. I am more of a cartoon than human. Being freed of this prison is all I want to archive." The boy cocked his head, and opened his mouth to ask more questions. Why was he more of a cartoon? How did Lost Ones look like? What were the other ink creatures called? What kind of ink creature was Jack? But before he could ask any more questions the prophet continued. "And now you are finally here to free me! My lord! My savior!"
He needed to get Sammy away from this place as fast as possible. The studio was not doing anything good to him. "Please just stop calling me that. My name is Henry. I have already told you that a few times, and I don't want to repeat it all the time."
"Weird, I can't remember that, but I will try to remember that," the music director replied and followed the boy through the room and up the stairs. Jack made a sound that reminded the boy of snickering, but he didn't really mind. The situation was kinda hilarious.
Suddenly he heard someone humming quietly, and let out a surprised squeak. It sounded like a woman, but it was still a little scary... it stopped pretty soon.
They entered a small room with a production line of Bendy plushies, but it wasn't moving. Two shelves were blocking their way, but Henry almost immediately spotted the lever on the right that would move them away. He smiled and tried to pull it only to find out he couldn't. Hadn't there been another one outside? Perhaps it was a good idea to pull it first. He walked back and did so, but still nothing happened. "Why is this not working?"
The lyricist looked around for a bit, before tugging the boy's sleeve to get his attention. He pointed at the plushies, then at the machine. The eight year old frowned, but when Jack sighed and pulled a plush out that was stuck in the machine he understood. "Sammy, there are plushies that block the machine! We need to get all of them out!"
"I have noticed that, too, Henry," the musician muttered.
The kid was a bit scared his hand might get crushed if he tried pulling them out himself, but eventually he just reached between gears and pulled out two, a Bendy plushie and a little plane.
When he pulled the lever, the shelves moved, but they still couldn't walk through that door. But there was an audio recording that might be interesting.
He approached it, but noticed a small ink blob in a bowl, and just couldn't resist touching it. It turned from Boris into Alice, then the ink machine, and then Bendy. He finally let it stay a little ink machine and read the name on the recording. Shawn Flynn. A new person? He hoped they were fun.
"What is that?" Sammy asked.
"An audio log. They seem to be left by the employees. They are quite useful and helped me solve the riddles. I also found three of yours around the music department and one of Jack's in the sewer."
Henry pressed the button and listened, putting a finger on his lips to tell his friends they should be quiet. It was unnecessary, both musicians were quite curious and wanted to find out more about what had happened before.
I don't be seein' what the big deal is. So what if I went and painted some of those Bendy dolls with a crooked smile? That's sure no reason for Mister Drew to be flyin' off the handle at me. And if he really wants to be so helpful, he could be telli' me what I'm to be doin' with this warehouse I got full of that angel watchamacallit. Not a scrap of that mess be a-sellin'! Probably have to melt it all down to be rid of it all.
"Drew... Mister Drew... Joey Drew... I... think I remember," Sammy murmured. “He was the one who started everything. He was the one who... ugh, my head hurts..."
"Let's just enter that door," Henry said, pulling down the lever a second time. “We can still talk about this while we try to find the exit.” As the shelves moved to the side a second time they could finally walk through the door. But why did he have such a bad feeling all of the sudden?
Chapter 14: The corrupted angel
It was a rather small room with Alice posters covering the walls. The light was flickering and Henry couldn't help but feel... like something would happen. Something bad. Something... scary. There was a recording booth on the other side of the room with thick glass separating it from the outside. Ot almost seemed like a trap to him. But that was only his childish imagination, wasn't it?
Suddenly, the light went off and there were only a few small screens above their heads showing the face of the beautiful little angel. The boy's heart leapt into his throat and he probably would have started to cry and panic if his inky friends weren't there. Jack whined and Henry could feel that he was hugging his leg again. He was just as scared as him. A quick glance at Sammy was enough to realize he was cowering behind him. Apparently fear made him switch back to being the 'prophet', Sammy had seemed more like a fighter than a coward.
Music started playing and Susie's voice could be heard, singing a song they had probably made for Alice Angel, "I'm the cutest little angel, sent from above, and I know just how to swing. I got a bright little halo, and I'm filled with love..." There was a popping sound, and he couldn't help but smile. This song was so good and the voice so lovely...
"I know that voice..." Sammy muttered. "I just don't know who... Why can't I remember? I should, I definitely should..."
"This is Susie's voice. She is Alice Angel's voice actress," the eight year old whispered, a little irritated by the music director's lack of memory. He had had problems remembering this Joey Drew guy, and now he didn't remember the voice actress of a main character? What was the cause of this amnesia? Was it the ink? Jack had acted like he had forgotten about everything as well when the boy had found him.
"I'm Alice Angel! I'm the hit of the party, I'm the belle of the ball, I'm the toast of every town. Just one little dance, and I know you'll fall... I'm Alice Angel! I ain't no flapper, I'm a classy dish, and boy, can this girl sing."
The light inside the booth went on, and the little boy stepped closer, waiting for Alice to appear. The lyricist was trying to keep him away from the glass by pulling his sleeve and gurgling, but the boy looked at him and shook his head, so the musician let him go with a scared whimper. He didn't understand his friend's fear. There was Boris walking around, so he thought Alice might be just as nice as the friendly wolf. Or maybe it was just Susie. She had sounded nice, too. "This gal can grant your every wish..." His face was only a few inches away from the glass, and he looked at the door inside, expecting either Alice or Susie to come through it. He smiled a little, but only for a second, before-
"I'M ALICE ANGEL!" Something - no, someone jumped right in front of him, smashing its fists against the glass. He stumbled backwards, tripped, and fell against something wet and sticky as the room turned completely dark. But the image didn't vanish from his mind. It had looked like the angel character he had seen on the posters, but the right side of her face was... melted. Her halo seemed to be partly stuck in her head and her right eye was... missing, and some missing flesh exposed her jaw and teeth. It had looked horrifying...
"M-my lord..." he heard Sammy mumble from behind him. So he had fallen against the music director. "A-are you-?"
"I see you there, my little boy. A new poor and innocent fly in my endless web. Together with two unworthy creatures. A Swollen One and a... honestly, I don't care what you are." She seemed annoyed that he had brought his friends with him, but he was just glad he had. The whole situation was scary enough.
Her voice seemed to echo in a terrifying way. The prophet was shaking , and Jack let out a whimper, but Henry didn't want to be a coward. He wanted to do something brave, to stand up for himself and his friends. He couldn't just let her talk about them like that! "Come along now. Let's see if you're worthy to walk with-"
"You're ugly." Why did he just say that?! Was it bravery in the wrong moment or simply his own stupidity?
"WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY, YOU-?!" She stopped, and let out an amused laughter. "You are too brave for your own good. Or just a dumb little kid. I don't need to get angry about something as pathetic as you. I am an angel after all..." She chuckled, and all of the sudden the light in the room turned on again. The glass that had separated the recording booth from the small room was shattered with small glass pieces lying on the ground. But Alice or whatever it was that had scared them was nowhere to be seen. A small passageway on the left had opened, revealing a dark hallway.
"What was that disgusting looking creature, my lord?" Sammy questioned, turning to the little boy.
"Henry. A-and I have n-no idea w-what she was. I-it can't be Susie, b-but it wasn't Alice Angel either... who or what w-was that?" he stuttered, both confused and scared. She seemed like a person who would hurt other in the most gruesome way.
"Oh, I deeply apologize, my lord Henry, I will make sure I won't repeat that mistake of mine," Sammy said, bowing to the boy. Henry was pretty sure Jack was smiling at this absurd scenario.
"No! Don't do that, it's stupid, and just call me Henry!" How many times did he have to say that? It was like the musician forgot it over and over again... He was really starting to get uncomfortable around Sammy while he was like that. The boy needed to find out what triggered him to go back to being normal Sammy as soon as possible.
"As you wish, Henry."
With a sigh he walked across the room and into the corridor, followed by the two musicians. "So, uh... she said one of you was... a Swollen One or something like that... Was she referring to Jack?"
"Possibly. I have not been in contact with the creatures of his kind long enough to give them a name yet. Most of them are even less intelligent than the Searchers," Sammy answered.
The lyricist hissed at that and wrote on one of the walls, WHO DO YOU CALL UNINTELLIGENT? YOU WORSHIP A CHILD! Even though he hadn't seemed like he was able to think before he had been given his recording, Henry had to agree with him on that. Worshipping a confused eight year old was rather stupid, and he had also prayed to a toon before.
"You know nothing about any of this. Our lord and savior will free us, you will see," Sammy grumbled.
This was when they arrived at a sign, pointing in two directions. They could either go left on the demon path or take the angel path. Henry had both met the demon and the angel, and both had scared him before. What if they waited at the end of each corridor?
"I won't turn left," Sammy said quietly, "I might run into the false savior again, and he would just tear me apart like he did last time." Jack nodded violently.
"But what about the angel?" Henry asked. "Won't she hurt us if we... go the angel path?"
"Believe me, she is definitely not an angel," Sammy replied. "The Lost Ones told me about a creature doing horrible things to them, and it is possibly the 'angel'." He shivered, remembering the stories they had told him. The boy was curious, but something told him he wouldn't want to know and he might find it out on his own.
"Whatever she is, she could wait there, too," Henry protested. "She might not be an angel, but she definitely calls herself one. Wouldn't it be better to try out both paths, just to be sure?"
The music director growled in frustration, and the lyricist tugged the boy's sleeve to get him to go through the right corridor. "Henry, that is probably even more dangerous than going one way. Especially since I am the only person - well, not really person, I am just ink - who can fight back. Neither you nor Jack are able to fight."
"But you cowered behind me because of the corrupted angel just a few minutes ago," Henry replied with a chuckle.
"That doesn't count, I was back to being the insane prophet! This is humiliating... my other side keeps forgetting, and... ugh, I need a break," the man muttered. "This studio is making me sick! How could I ever think staying here was a good idea?"
BECAUSE OF A GOOD PAYMENT, the Swollen One scribbled on the wall.
"Yes, probably. Come on, kid, we need to keep going, the ink demon has probably noticed we are here by now," Sammy said, motioning the boy to follow him and Jack.
Henry nodded and followed his friends to the right side, but he was still curious. What was on the left side? He wanted to know it so much... he had to know! Before any of the two musicians could stop him, he run to the other corridor. And a door shut behind him.
"Henry!" Sammy yelled. "Why did you do that?!"
"S-sammy! Jack! C-can you come here and try to open the door that is blocking the demon path-"
"We can't go back either! The angel path is also blocked now! Why did you have to run through the other path?! Just wait until we come... no, don't wait, keep going! The ink demon might be there. Just... try not to die!"
Henry had never regretted not listening to an adult that much.
Chapter 15: Further into the nightmare
He felt guilty. Now he and the others were separated, and it was his fault. Why did he have to do this? Henry hadn't wanted to be alone again. In fact, he had been glad when the others joined him. It felt less scary. And now... what if they wouldn't meet each other again? What if...?
With a sigh, Henry slowly walked away from the blocked door. It wouldn't help him if he started crying, he needed to search for them. He needed to go through the path and find them. He walked into a small room whose floor was completely covered in the ink. The dark, sticky substance was even dripping from the ceiling. There was a desk on the right side of the entrance with a inkwell and a Bendy plush on it, and a grinning Bendy cutout that made the boy feel watched once again. Henry ignored them, and instead focused on what was on the left side of the room. Placed on a chair, there was another audio recording.
As the eight year old stepped closer he could read the name Joey Drew. He got pretty excited over the fact that he could finally hear what the owner of the studio thought, and why he acted so strangely to his employees. What could possibly go on inside his mind? He pressed the button and listened to Joey Drew while looking around, in case the ink demon suddenly appeared.
There's nothing wrong with dreaming. Wishing for the impossible is just human nature. That's how I got started. Just a pencil and a dream. We all want to have everything without having to lift a finger. They say you just have to believe. Belief can make you succeed. Belief can make you rich. Belief can make you powerful. Why with enough belief, you can even cheat death itself. Now that... is a beautiful and positivity silly thought.
Henry really didn't know what to think of this audio log. It sounded like a speech directed towards a huge group of people. Maybe the employees? But it sounded... off. Like a practiced text rather than his real thoughts. And what did Joey Drew's sentence about death mean? Was he sick? Was he trying to escape death? He had wrote this book called the illusion of living after all. Something felt really wrong about this recording. Henry just couldn't tell what it was.
He turned left into a short but dark corridor with a giant Bendy head on the wall and a door on the right side. Now where would it lead him? Hopefully not to the ink demon. He opened it, and stepped into a rather dark hallway. "Sammy? Jack? Is any of you here?" he asked, and looked around only to see another Bendy cutout on his right. What if they had run into the angel? No, he didn't even want to think about that.
The boy was feeling more and more courage as he slowly walked along the corridor, passed a miracle station and ink pipes, and finally reached another door. The room behind it was small, and there was another way leading to the left. He only made one or two steps before a familiar face peaked around the corner. Henry squeaked in surprise and froze for a second, before he quickly rushed around the corner only to be met into a familiar wolf.
"Boris! Why are you scaring me like that?" he asked, pouting. The toon snickered quietly. "It's not funny. Everything and everyone in here enjoys scaring me all the time. Even the angel, and angels are supposed to be good." Boris cocked his head, but didn't reply. Henry really wished he could, it was hard for the boy to understand what he wanted from him, and the wolf refused to write on the walls. He had even growled the first few times he had seen Jack done it. He wasn't the one who cleaned it, why did he even care?
"Henry!" someone yelled. "There you are!"
The boy turned around and was immediately pulled into a hug by the inky musician. It took a moment for him to realize what was going on. They were... worried? He had thought Sammy would be more angry than anything. "I'm fine, guys. No need to worry," he muttered, hugging them back. He had been worried about them more than he had been worried about himself. Sure, the creature that they called the ink demon was scary and had chased them, but there was probably worse than him in here.
"Are you kidding? The ink demon could have been there!" Sammy shouted, freeing himself of the embrace. "I am not your mother, Henry! I really do not like the idea of making sure you don't do anything as stupid as this." The eight year old could see why he was angry. He had done something wrong, and it could have ended pretty badly.
"I'm sorry..." Henry replied quietly. "I really shouldn't have done that. I was just curious..."
"Curiosity most likely... doesn't end very well in here, kid. Ask Norman if you don't believe me. You should better stay with us and not run away again. How did you survive in here before you met us?"
"Is that a rhetorical question?" the boy asked. "And what do you mean with 'ask Norman if you don't believe me'? What happened to him?"
Sammy shook his head. "I really shouldn't have said that... It doesn't matter. We should just try to find the exit in time."
"But me no buts!" Sammy interrupted him in a harsh tone. "Just listen to me, and everything will be fine. You're too young. Some questions should better not be answered. You have already seen enough. No more questions. Did you understand me?" Henry crossed his arms and looked defiantly at the music director, but when Sammy didn't say anything more, he slowly nodded. If they wouldn't answer his questions he would find another person who could. He just didn't understand why he worried so much. "Good."
A slight chuckle from Boris made the musician realize he was there, too. "Oh, it's nice to see you again. I thought you would have left us to die. I'm glad to see you are not as much of a coward as I had expected. You even got a GENT pipe to protect ourselves with." The wolf looked at the pipe in his hand before growling at the music director, but he only replied with, "I'm entitled to think what I want."
Henry felt someone tugging his sleeve and looked down to see Jack excitedly holding up an audio recording from Susie Campbell. So there had been another recording in the angel's path? Who put them all around the studio for him to find and most importantly, why?
"T-thanks, Jack. Have you guys... listened to it yet?" he asked, glancing from the recorder to Jack who shook his head. "I have also found one, but I didn't take it with me. I probably should have..."
"Just tell us who it was from and what it was about," Sammy replied, leaning against the wall, not caring that his ink started covering the wall. Boris didn't seem to like this and glared at the musician. "You do remember what he said in that recording, right?"
"It was from Joey Drew and sounded like some sort of... speech. He said the word belief in almost every sentence, I think. He was talking about how he started with the business with just a dream and how belief could... do certain things? Then he said something about avoiding, no, cheating death," Henry responded, trying to remember his exact words.
SOUNDS PRETTY MUCH LIKE THE SPEECHES HE GAVE US, Jack wrote.
"I thought this might be one, but I wasn't sure. Do you guys want to listen to the other one now?" Not waiting for a reply Henry pressed the button. All attention was drawn to the object as Susie's voice came out of it:
Everything feels like it's coming apart. When I walked into the recording booth today, Sammy was there with that... Allison. Apparently, I didn't get the memo. Alice Angel will now be voiced by Miss Allison Pendle. A part of me died when he said that. There's gotta be a way to fix this!
Sammy didn't seem to feel comfortable with three pairs of eyes staring at him. "W-what? Do you think it was my decision? Joey said she already knew, and when it turned out she did not, I should tell her because I was closer to her and he did not want to ruin his chances!"
Both the lyricist and the wolf didn't seem very convinced and Henry didn't think he knew enough about the whole situation to judge his friend. So he just stood there awkwardly, wondering which side to pick.
Suddenly Sammy covered his head with his hands and let out a terrified whimper. "H-he is close! H-he is coming! We need to go before he finds us!"
Nobody needed to ask who 'he' was, they all knew. Sammy grabbed the GENT pipe from Boris, quickly opened the door and rushed through it, and the other three followed him, not daring to look back in fear the ink demon might already be there. Sometimes it was better not to know. Henry didn't understand how the music director knew he was there, but he was pretty sure it would be too complicated for him.
The next room was darker and filled with a small labyrinth of shelves with a few Bendy and Boris plushies. Ink covered the ground and they headed forwards until they were met by another closed door. There was a lever right next to it, but the other one was far away.
"It seems like they have to be pulled at the same moment," Sammy muttered as Boris walked to the one nearby. "I will stay here with Boris, and you will search for the other one."
The boy nodded. "Alright."
He and Jack walked through the corridor, following the wires, but when he noticed a small passageway on the side, and spotted an audio recording he couldn't resist. He quickly walked to it and read the names on it. Wally and Thomas. The lyricist made a questioning sound and stared at him from the other corridor.
"It's another recording, Jack. It might be important," he replied with a smile. The Swollen One slowly approached him, staring at the other side of the hallway as if he suspected something to appear and attack them before he relaxed a little bit. Henry could only chuckle at this. "You're paranoid, aren't you?" he asked as he pressed the play button.
Alright, let's go over this again. If the pressure goes over forty five, I screw the safety bolt in tighter, right? Wally asked.
No! For the last time, you do that, you'll blow every pipe in this place. If it reaches forty five you unhook the safety switch, Thomas replied in an annoyed tone.
You sure? You know, this sounds harder than comparing ear wax to bee's wax.
Look, it's not that difficult! Just keep an eye on the gauge!
Look pal, if you think I'm going my job AND yours, I'm outta here!
"Why did Thomas Connor teach Wally how to do this job?" Henry wondered. "Why would a janitor need to-?"
"Henry, what are you doing over there?! We need to leave before the ink demon spots us!" Sammy yelled.
"S-sorry!" the eight year old shouted back, and rushed out of the corridor. He really didn't want to make Sammy mad. "I just found another recording and I-"
"We can't just stay here, Henry!" He gulped, knowing the musician was right about that. They couldn't stay. The ink demon might find them, and it would most likely not end well.
When Henry entered the hallway he immediately noticed the poster at its end, advertising the Butcher Gang. Fascinated, he stepped closer, examining the three characters on it. A spider, a pirate and either a monkey or a leprechaun, he couldn't tell which one. What he didn't expect, however, was something breaking through the poster.
Chapter 16: Into the angel’s lair
Oh my god, I just watched the new Batim - well, actually Bendy and the dark revival- trailer, and I’m so hyped! I can’t wait until it comes out!
Henry opened his mouth to scream, but all that came out was a terrified whimper as he watched the creature fall on the floor. He was panicking as it was lying facedown for a second before jumping back on its feet. It held up a pipe and talked gibberish as it approached him, but the boy didn't understand anything it was saying. It just sounded so weird...
And it looked weird, too. Much worse than the angel had. It looked like one of the members of the Butcher Gang from the poster, the one in the middle, but... twisted. It had large ears, a black nose and beard with sideburns and a nearly bald head just like the original, but its right eye was gouged out and filled with some kind of ink, while the other one was X-shaped and had small stitches on it. The ears looked more human than anything, and the wide opened mouth revealed human like teeth that made him shiver. It was also worth mentioning that it wore a black tailcoat with a tan vest and a black tie as well as one single black shoe on its left leg, and a plumber as a peg-leg instead of a right leg. Its long arms were skinny, and it wore a white glove on its right hand while the other one was just... missing. Its tailcoat was slightly worn out with the sleeve on the right side way shorter than on the left, and there was a rather big hole on the bottom left of his stomach revealing... its innards. Just seeing it made Henry want to puke and scream in horror.
It looked like it would attack him any moment with its pipe raised above its head like a weapon. Why didn't Henry have a pipe? He could have just taken it from Sammy. He and Boris didn't need it. Why didn't he take it? Because he had thought he wouldn't need to, obviously.
He didn't really understand why he had been jumpscared again and why everyone liked to scare him so much, but he couldn't help but feel a huge amount of pity for the poor creature. The boy knew it was a cartoon character, just like Boris, Bendy and Alice. It wasn't supposed to look like this. Not like it had just been in some sort of sick experiment. It was okay if it didn't look exactly how it was supposed to, but this was just... sad. It didn't seem like a dangerous being that liked harming him but rather scared. Poor guy. How could he possibly help this one? It looked so broken... and like someone had hurt it. Tortured it. Who could possibly do such horrible things? The ink demon didn't seem capable of that and he didn't believe that Bendy would ever hurt his playmates. Was it the angel?
Jack growled and crawled in front of Henry in an attempt to protect the kid from it, but the Butcher Gang member just... stared at him, its hand raised above his head, not moving an inch. It was confusing for both Henry and Jack. Why was it not attacking them if it looked like it wanted to? Was it afraid of the lyricist? Was it because Henry was... well, a small child? He really didn't know.
Just as he was about to approach the twisted creature it moved and ran past them. "W-what...?" he stuttered, but it had already disappeared into the corridor with Wally's and Thomas' tape. Was it worth following it? Probably not, Sammy was waiting for them, impatiently and angry he had to wait. It might come back again, he hoped, and then it might give him a few answers.
Henry slowly moved forward to the lever, glancing through the whole in the poster in suspicion. Who knew if there wasn't another being that would suddenly jump at him? But there wasn't any, and he allowed himself to relax a little. Everything was fine. He wasn't harmed or attacked, so no worries.
He pulled the lever, and immediately heard a "Finally!" coming from the other side. He giggled at this. Sammy's impatience was actually entertaining. He could see why he and Wally didn't get along very well. Wally seemed like a lazy and forgetful guy, so Sammy was probably annoyed with him all the time. He couldn't wait to meet the janitor as well. If his theory was correct and Sammy switched from the prophet back to himself if he was angry or annoyed it might save him from being called 'my lord' over and over again.
As soon as he got to the opened door, Sammy snarled impatiently, "What took you so long? Was it that hard to find the lever?"
"S-sorry," the boy stuttered, pretty hurt by the man's tone, "We... there was a d-delay."
"I noticed." Sammy looked at him for a second, then he sighed. "Look, I'm sorry if I am not being very... nice right now, but I'm on edge because the ink demon is coming closer and I am not good with kids."
WOULD NOT SAY THAT, SAMMY. YOU ARE DOING A GOOD JOB SO FAR.
Henry giggled a little, knowing Jack was correct, but Sammy shook his head. "It doesn't matter. We need to-" Boris stepped through the door, probably having had enough of them arguing. Sammy was frozen for a moment before he shrugged and followed the friendly wolf. Henry exchanged a look with Jack before he followed his two friends as well, the lyricist crawling besides him.
Henry didn't really bother to look at the surroundings, everything looked similar to the places he had been before. He only got interested when they walked through a corridor filled with machines that made loud noises, but he didn't examine it any further, fearing he might lose the others again.
They walked down the stairs and Boris stopped in front of an elevator, glancing back at them to make sure they were still there. Why did Henry not have a good feeling about this elevator...? Why did it seem dangerous to him...? Like a... trap? He stood there for a second with a frown on his face, but when Sammy told him to come in he did, but not without feeling worried.
As the doors closed and the elevator slowly went down the angel spoke again. All of them jumped excluding Boris who just stood there, looking at them. "You're so interesting... so different." He almost immediately knew her voice was coming out of a speaker. She wasn't anywhere near them. But still... she was in control, wasn't she?
"I have to say I'm an instant fan. Looks like you've got a date with an angel. Come to me now. Level nine-"
"I'm sure Henry is way too young for a date, unless you want to date me, and my response is... no," the music director muttered, crossing his arms.
"-just follow the screams."
Henry shivered. What did she mean by this? What could she possibly-?
The elevator doors opened. "Come on, step out of your cage. There's a whole twisted world out here." She started chuckling in a manner that made his flesh crawl. The boy looked at the other three in fear only to realize they were as disturbed as he was.
They slowly walked down the stairs. Sammy was holding the GENT pipe with shaking hands, looking around searching for the angel. Henry didn't know if he would really be able to hit her, but even if he was, she wasn't here.
They passed another audio log from Thomas Connor, and he couldn't help but press the play button. His friends wheeled around in fear as the man started to speak.
These blasted elevators... sometimes they open... sometimes they don't... sometimes they come... sometimes they keep on getting to hell and back. I keep telling these people, if Joey keeps cutting corners like this, someone's sure to end up dead. And it sure ain't gonna be me. I'm taking the stairs.
"It is good to know the elevator might kills us AFTER we took it," Sammy muttered. "Classic Joey Drew Studios..." He sighed. "But complaining is not going to help us now, is it? Let's just see why this... angel wants to meet us..."
They walked over a bridge that lead over a small ink river, through a gate and up the stairs to a door with a giant Alice Angel figure on it that was holding a sign. SHE IS QUITE A GAL. If the will to murder them was being the translation of 'being quite a gal' then yes, she was. There were also two machines on both side of the door the kid couldn't name. But he was sure one was to receive something and the other to bring something to the angel.
As soon as they stood in front of the closed door it slowly started to open and as soon as it was wide open Boris rushed inside without any prior warning.
"B-boris?!" Henry yelled after his friend. "Boris, why are you-?"
PROBABLY SOMETHING THERE. HE SENSES IT. WE DON'T.
"How dare you filthy creature to write on my walls with your disgusting ink?!" The angel's furious voice came out of the speaker. Henry and the others should have probably been scared, but they worried more about their friend.
They walked through the corridor and the first thing they saw was Boris standing in front of something that was shined on by a headlight. Sammy quickly put his left hand over Henry's eyes, but it was too late. He had already seen enough, and could only stare at it in shock as he slowly pushed the hand away, tears starting to fill his eyes. "Oh my g-god... who c-could be this cruel?" He already knew, but wouldn't dare to even think it.
Chapter 17: With closed eyes
The boy could only stare at the tied up body in front of him, recalling his first memories after suddenly being inside Joey Drew Studios. He hadn't even thought once about the lifeless toon he found after he had met Boris because he thought it was just the same one, but now that there was another corpse of the cartoon wolf... there was more than just one Boris, he realized, and this woman which called herself Alice Angel... had removed all of their insides. It was a disgusting, sickening thought, and he didn't even dare imagining it. Tears started to fill his widened eyes, and he had to pull himself together to not give a sudden sob and burst into tears.
He quickly noticed that the corpse in the spotlight wasn't the only dead Boris in there as he glanced around the room trying to distract himself from this horrible sight. There were more... There were so many more dead Boris clones... How could she do this? Didn't she have a heart. Why would she ever do this? What was her goal? Why was the angel like that? Wasn't she supposed to be good?
There was a path of planks leading over a sea of ink that filled the bottom of the room. She had apparently decorated the room so she or any of her visitors could 'admire' the art she created. He vaguely remembered that Sammy and Jack had previously thought that Boris was a human once. If there was more than one Boris it could be true, but... who could be so insane that they turned others into toons and ink creatures?
"I... think we should go back," Sammy muttered, but Henry shook his head, trying his best to hold back the tears. He didn't want to cry. Not here, when this psychopathic angel was probably watching. "Henry, you are a child. This isn't-"
"S-she wanted us to c-come here. She wanted us t-to know what she can do to us if w-we try to run away before we r-really met her. S-she wanted us, no, me t-to come here," he replied in a high pitched voice, terrified what she would do if they didn't do what she wanted them to. Jack glanced up at him. He had probably already figured out that he was close to breaking down, but was trying not to cry. The lyricist sighed and put one of his hands on the boy's shoulder, but it took him some effort to stretch his body that high. "I-it's alright. She hadn't h-harmed us the first t-time, so she probably w-wants something from us."
Boris was standing still, probably even more traumatized than the little boy. He hadn't seen any of these or else he wouldn't stare at his clone with a blank expression. Henry worried she would hurt him, too, if they stayed. Boris was his friend. If he got killed by her, then...
"Oh, definitely. I have heard from the Lost Ones that she is a pretty... calculated being..." Sammy replied, walking in the direction of the planks that were leading to the other side of the room, cocking his head and staring on the other side. "I hate doing this, but if she really hurts you if we try to leave... then there is no other way." He made a careful step on the plank, testing if it could hold his weight before turning back to the others.
"Jack, you stay here with Boris, Henry will come with me. It's better if one of us stays here." The Swollen One let out a grumble, not satisfied by the the music director's decision, but Sammy wasn't finished yet. "Boris can't just stay here completely alone with nobody to protect him. You see what she did to every other clone of Boris. Believe me, she won't hesitate to do the same with him. And I am pretty sure your body would not make it to the other side. You are not stable enough." Jack huffed, crossing his arms.
Henry approached Sammy, looking down to the ground so he wouldn't have to see the dead Boris'. "B-but I don't want to! I will see all the-"
"Close your eyes and take my hand. I will lead you through this," Sammy interrupted him, holding out his hand. "Do you trust me?"
"I... I trust you," the eight year old said with a smile, closing his eyes and taking the offered hand. "Thank you."
"For what?" the musician questioned. "I didn't-"
"For being my friend."
"Oh. You're welcome, kid."
As they were both standing on the first plank Alice started speaking, but it didn't sound like her. It sounded more like... Susie. "Look around. It took so many of them to make me so beautiful. Anything less than perfect was left behind. I had to do it. She made me."
"Was that... Susie Campbell?" Henry asked quietly. Perfection. So that was what she wanted to archive... He felt sick just thinking about how this could possibly work and make her perfect. Just don't think about it, he told himself. Just don't think about it. Everything will be fine.
"I... I think so. She... has a split personality...? I didn't know she was Alice, I.... I need to talk to her! She needs to know that I didn't mean to hurt her back then! I can make her stop this nonsense!"
"I'm not sure if she will listen to you..." Henry muttered. "She thought you preferred Allison over her and I don't know if she still thinks the same..."
"Of course she will!" Sammy hissed. "Susie knows me! We have been friends for years! You are just a stupid kid, of course you don't understand."
"If you say so..." The eight year old knew Sammy overestimated her feelings for him after she felt betrayed. Love could turn into hatred very fast... and hatred made people do horrible things... But Sammy was right. He was just a kid. What did he know about love?
The next few minutes the inky man told him where exactly to place his feet so he wouldn't fall into the dark liquid as he might drown in it. This clarification didn't help his fear and Sammy remained silent after realizing everything he said would probably only make everything worse. It had been less than two minutes when he spoke again, "Well, it seems like Susie - no, this isn't her, it's not even Alice - it seems like she did not only use Boris clones for her twisted experiments..."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"Nonono! Don't open your eyes! I should not have said that out loud... my mistake," the music director murmured. "Don't look. You would get nightmares from it. I am actually quite surprised you didn't have any nightmares so far..."
"What is there?! Sammy, please tell me!" Henry squeaked. What was there? Could it be a human body now? What if there really was one? He started trembling and sweating. Did Alice want to tie him up and remove his insides as well?
"A Butcher Gang member. His name was 'Charley' or something. He, Barley and Edgar were the most liked characters along with Bendy. It is kind of sad the children never gave Alice a chance. I think there might even be a poster of the Butcher Gang in here..."
"I-is Charley the one wearing a smoking?" Henry whispered, fearing for the worst. What if this was the one he had encountered? The one that was his friend? Then Henry would be the reason he died because he had made him leave his hiding spot behind the poster.
"Yes. Why did you ask?"
But Henry didn't reply. They finally reached a platform, but Sammy was apparently just curious to listen to another recording and hadn't gone to the other side of the room immediately. Maybe he had spotted the name on it and decided he wanted to know more about what Susie thought?
Who would have thought? Me having lunch with Joey Drew. Apparently times are tougher than I thought. For a moment there, I thought I'd be stuck with the check. But I gotta say, he wasn't at all what I expected. Quite the charmer. He even called me Alice. I liked it.
"So it really is Susie..." the music director muttered. "I should have known from the beginning... only she would be like this... she was so desperate to stay Alice... it could only be her..."
"S-sammy, can we please go now? I'm scared. I just want all of it to end..." Henry whimpered, squeezing Sammy's inky hand.
"Oh, yes of course, Henry. I just... never knew what exactly happened to Susie. I thought she left before everything went down, that's what everyone said, but... she didn't. Every time someone mysteriously disappeared they said they were fired or left on their own. Nobody suspected anything... except Norman, but he was gone as soon as he started searching for the truth..."
"What happened to him?"
"Let's not talk about it. I already told you not to ask questions. You can open your eyes again. We are there... Let's meet Susie again..." Henry could hear how nervous he was, but didn't reply. He opened his eyes and stepped into the corridor, passing a Alice Angel poster and cutout.
As they stepped into the room the doors closed. Another glass window kept them away from the angel as she was standing next to a table. And a living Charley clone was tied up on it.
Chapter 18: Anger
"Hmm. Now we come to the question. Do I kill you? Do I tear you apart to my heart's delight?" She asked. "The choices of the beautiful are unbearable." Henry gulped and stared at the member of the Butcher Gang in front of him, fearing what this insane woman would do to the toon. Charley was strapped down, ready to be used for her twisted experiments that would most likely kill him just like the other Boris and Charley clones whose corpses were demolished by her. Henry couldn't just let the same happen to him! He needed to do something! Anything! He-
"S-Susie..." Sammy whispered, stepping forward towards the thick glass, reaching his hand in her direction. But the angel was focusing on Henry who probably was the only human in the whole studio. This was the only reason Henry could see for her to be interested in him. For her, the music director was just a tiny insect. Something she didn't want to bother dealing with. She hadn't recognized him so far, so why would she think he was worth it? Alice didn't understand how much life actually meant.
"How's a girl to choose?" she chuckled slightly, before her tone changed to anger and disgust. "Take this little freak for instance! He crawled in here... trailing his tainted ink to my door! It could've touched me! It could have pulled me back!" Her voice was so hysterical as she spoke, and Sammy gasped, shocked by the way Susie acted. But was it even still Susie? Henry doubted it. Susie had seemed innocent in all the recordings he heard. If this really was her... what had happened to her? What had they done to her? Why was she a twisted toon? How was that even possible? "Do you know what it's like? Living in the dark puddles?"
The boy slowly shook his head, still staring at Charley who looked pitiful. He would save him. He wasn't sure if this was the same toon who had fallen out of the poster, but even if it wasn't, they looked and probably also acted similar. He couldn't just leave him here. Henry would make sure she couldn't hurt him like she did with the other Boris and Charley clones. He would protect him.
"It's a buzzing, screaming well of voices. Bits of your mind, swimming... like... like fish in a bowl!" Henry didn't understand what she was referring to, but as he glanced at the musician next to him he knew that he was probably experiencing something similar. "The first time I was born from its inky womb I was a wiggling, pussing, shapeless slob. The second time... well..." She paused for a second, before her voice switched back to Susie's. "It made me an angel!"
Sammy banged on the glass, shouting, "Susie, this isn't you! You aren't Alice! You are Susie Campbell! You are human! You are not supposed to be-!"
But she didn't hear him. She was lost in her thoughts, not listening to what the musician shouted. It was like she was stuck in her Alice Angel role, an actress forced to play a certain part without interruption."I will not let the demon touch me again. I'm so close now. So... almost perfect." She sighed. "Yes, I will spare you. For now. Better yet..."
"Susie, please listen to me..." Sammy sobbed, falling to his knees. "Please..." He clenched his shaking fists, muttering something Henry didn't understand, but his attention was soon drawn back to the angel.
"I'll even let you ascend and leave this place. If you will do a few eensey weensey little favors for me first. Return to the lift my adorable little errand boy. We have work to do," she said with a smile that was probably supposed to make him trust her.
"Susie, no!" Sammy screamed as she hit a button that made wooden planks come down, covering the scene in front of them. Someone else was screaming as well, begging and crying for help to save the toon. Henry soon noticed that it was him. Charley let out gurgles as she shocked him with electricity and were followed by Alice's maniacal laughter as the noises died down, and eventually, the laughter stopped, too. They could hear her leaving her torture room through a door, but then there was silence. Henry would have preferred the screams over it, knowing the little guy was still alive. He felt numb, knowing he could have tried to save Charley. But he didn't. He just stood there and watched, while he could have at least tried to save him. He was such a coward.
"W-why was she hurting him...?" he whispered. "I-is he dead?"
Sammy slowly turned around and looked at him in silence, before he stepped closer and took the boy's hand. "I think we should go now. She told us to go back to the elevator. Boris and Jack are waiting for us," he replied with a monotone voice, not bothering to answer any of his questions. As Henry heard the way he spoke, he started to feel bad for not thinking about the music director. How was he feeling, knowing someone he was close to hurt other with such a delight?
"Sammy, I..." Henry looked up to his friend, but due to him wearing a mask he couldn't make out any facial expression that could tell him how he was feeling.
"Let's just go back, Henry," the musician said quietly. "I don't really want to talk right now."
"JUST STAY QUIET, YOU LITTLE BRAT! YOU DO NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS! JUST BE QUIET FOR ONCE!" he yelled, pushing the boy to the ground. "IF YOU HAD NOT BROUGHT ME HERE THIS WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED!"
Tears started to fill the boy's eyes as he slowly stood up from the ground, staring at the inky man in fear. Was this his fault? Yes, it was. If he hadn't made Sammy come with him he wouldn't know this happened to Susie and would still be stuck as the prophet, worshipping the demon. The eight year old wasn't even sure if the Charley clone was the one he encountered with Jack or not. If it was, then he was at fault for him dying. The tears started to roll down his cheeks and he gave a sudden sob as Sammy watched from a few steps away.
"H-henry, I... I d-did not mean to... to yell at you... I... it's just... I..."
"B-but I know it's my fault..." the boy sniffed, wiping away the tears. "I know it is..."
"No, I just... I should not have yelled at you. It had nothing to do with you. If it is anyone's fault, it is mine. It has something to do with Susie getting replaced. That was what changed her. You have nothing to do with this," he sighed.
"But if I hadn't-"
"Enough of this. Let's just go back to the others..."
Henry was sure it took Sammy longer to bring him back to the cartoon wolf and the lyricist, but he didn't understand why Sammy would be so slow. Was he maybe waiting for Susie to come back? If he was, there was nothing he could possibly say to make her listen to him. She had ignored him, and maybe she hadn't even notice his presence at all. Who possibly knew?
As they arrived back at the first Boris corpse they found, their Boris immediately ran forward and pulled the boy into a hug, glaring at the other inky being. "Why are you looking at me like this?" Sammy asked, taking a step backwards, irritated by the wolf's behavior. "I didn't do anything wrong, did I?"
"You were pretty loud... I wouldn't be surprised if I could've heard you yelling from the entrance," Henry replied with a shrug, petting the wolf with a smile. "Boris, you don't need to be angry at him. It's fine!"
YOU LOOK LIKE YOU CRIED, Jack scribbled down on the wall.
"Well, I did but-"
SAMMY MADE YOU CRY.
"I'm sorry, okay guys?! I just found out that this... angel is Susie and that it's probably all my fault she is doing all of this! What do you think I'm feeling right now?! Do you think I'm happy?! I can tell you I'm not because it is all my fault!" The musician shouted, turning away from them and walking back the way to the elevator.
Jack and Boris stared at him in shock before looking at Henry as if they expected him to say Sammy was wrong, that it wasn't Susie, that this wasn't true. That it couldn't be true. He really would have wanted to do that, but he just didn't want to lie to his friends. The truth hurt, but he just couldn't leave them in the dark about it.
"Please, let's just go back to the elevator," Henry sighed. "She promised us she would let us leave this place if we do her some favors. Sammy will calm down soon. He's just... shocked and blames himself for it, even though I don't really understand... why. It's better if we leave him alone for a bit so he can calm down."
They nodded and slowly followed him out of the angel's lair.
"My machines are hungry. Gather me some spare parts!" Alice demanded as Henry, Boris and Jack finally reached the end of the corridor. The metal door closed behind them almost immediately, but the young boy just couldn't forget what was hidden behind it. He didn't think he would ever be able to forget anything that had happened in the studio so far. And there would be more to come, he just knew it. Susie had seemed so nice in the audio recordings he listened to, but the twisted angel she had become definitely wasn't. Someone who acted so mean wouldn't let them go. Maybe he was wrong, but he had a bad feeling about her...
"Spare parts?" he repeated with a frown, before looking around for Sammy, but the music director seemed to have vanished. "S-sammy? W-where are you? Please, this isn't... this isn't funny." Had the ink demon caught him? Had he teleported to another part of the studio? What if he wasn't coming back? What if he hated Henry now because of what happened and wanted nothing to do with him anymore? Had he decided to go back to his department? To not be with them anymore?
Before the young boy could panic even more, Boris suddenly pulled him into a tight hug to calm him down. Henry realized what the friendly wolf wanted to tell him. It will be fine. Sammy will come back again. Don't worry. He sighed. How much he wished Boris and Jack could talk. It would make it so much easier to believe.
"Thanks," he said quietly, giving the toon a weak smile. The wolf let go of him, but not without giving him a concerned look. "I'm fine, Boris. I'm fine... I... I know Sammy isn't the type of person who just leaves. He will come back when he is ready." Sammy just needed to be alone for a while. He was probably hiding somewhere, not so far away. He would not be gone forever.
"Does any of my you guys know where we have to go to find these spare parts she wants?" he asked. Jack nodded. "Alright, then let's go!" Before he could take a step forward, Boris put his hand on Henry's shoulder. Confused, the little boy looked at the wolf. He was holding a pipe wrench out to Henry. Had he got it from one of the machines next to the entrance? Probably. The boy felt pretty stupid. Sammy still had the axe, meaning they had neither a weapon nor a tool to do these errands. If Boris hadn't held him back he would've left without it. "Thanks," he muttered, taking the tool and examining it carefully, "You're the best, buddy."
Then he turned to the lyricist. "You said you know where we have to go. Could you lead the way?" The Swollen One let out an excited gurgling noise and disappeared into an ink puddle, only to appear a few meters away on the bridge. He and the wolf slowly followed him.
Hardly had they reached the other side, when the angel started speaking again. "There are so few rules to our world now. So little truths." They made their way up the stairs, glancing around in fear. "But there is one rule we all know and respect down here. Beware the Ink Demon." Boris let out a terrified whimper, so Henry started petting his back to make him feel better. "Stay out in the open for too long and he will find you. For if you see him, you'd better hide. If you don't, well, I enjoyed our date. Now, let us begin our work."
Jack appeared inside the elevator, cocking his head and waiting for the others to come in. Boris didn't hesitate, but Henry couldn't forget the audio recording he listened to earlier. The elevator wouldn't always work and would be stuck sometimes. It had never worked properly. He really hoped nothing bad would happen while they were in it. He slowly stepped into the elevator again, and looked on the buttons. Which one was the right one? Would something bad happen if he pressed the wrong button?
The lyricist had noticed the boy's hesitation, and drew one single letter on the elevator wall; K. So they had to go to Level K? Wasn't that were the demon and angel paths were?
"I hope you don't make a habit out of this. I already hate the writing on the walls where I can't see them, but these are my belongings," Alice replied in an annoyed tone. "I might change my mind about letting you go if you keep that up. Now, you wouldn't want that, would you?" Henry tried his best to ignore her, as he had already pressed the button to Level K and waited for the elevator to finally arrive there. She was only making threats, but she wouldn't do anything to them. She was too far away.
As soon as the doors opened again, Jack and Henry got out of the elevator. But the angel wasn't done talking yet; "Have you met him? The Ink Demon? They say he hears everything. Every creak of the floor. Every rustle of paper. I wouldn't run so fast if I were you. You never know what will draw him in."
Henry glanced around in fear, expecting the Ink Demon to appear behind the very next corner. Jack tugged his sleeve, and pointed up the stairs. "I know, but... I'm scared. What if he really appears?" While making a sound that reminded the boy of a chuckle, the Swollen One pointed on the Miracle Station on their right. Of course, they could hide in there... but what about the other places? Surely they wouldn't only be on Level K. On other levels there were probably no places to hide, and the Ink Demon would get him... He was being overdramatic, it wouldn't be so bad. He had to focus on this task.
"Aren't you coming with us?" he asked the toon wolf who was still standing in the elevator. Boris looked away in an ashamed manner, suddenly very interested in the buttons of the lift. Henry understood. He was too scared to leave the elevator. The idea of meeting the Ink Demon was horrifying to him. But wasn't the angel worse? As far as he knew, Bendy wasn't taking someone's insides. Then again, what was the demon doing to the ink creatures he caught? Henry didn't know, but didn't have any interest in finding it out. "Stay safe, Boris. And don't do anything stupid."
Taking a deep breath, the boy made his way up the stairs, Jack right next to him. In less than a minute they were back in the room with the shelves filled with the plushies of the toons. "Okay, how do we get-"
He was interrupted by loud gurgles. Henry turned around to see another Charley who was slowly limping in his direction, holding a gear in one hand. Was that one of the spare parts the angel wanted? The toon came closer and reached his hand out to give it to the boy. "Thank you," the boy muttered, looking down at the gear he had gotten from the Butcher Gang member, before smiling at him. "I will help you all. I promise. She won't hurt any of you again."
Charley only nodded, and made his way past the boy, not even bothering to look at Jack who had been following the exchange quietly. The boy could tell he wasn't trusting the toon. He really wished he did, but he knew he couldn't change his friend's thoughts, so he didn't even try. "But where are the others?" Henry asked, when the toon had left. "Are they all just simply lying around?"
Jack shook his head and pointed at one of the boxes on the wall. The boy curiously stepped closer, examining it from a small distance. He had already been scared when moving forward too quickly, he wouldn't this time.
He finally had enough courage to open it, and took out another gear. He moved to the next one, only to realize it was empty. "Seriously?" he muttered, and walked around a shelf to get to the next box.
"Ah, this should be plenty. Return them to me."
He turned around to Jack and smiled at him. "Why did I think it would be-?"
"And try not to die on your way back," Alice said. She sounded very amused by this thought. Like she didn't care as long as she didn't get bored by it. "I'm pretty sure it wouldn't make a difference for any of us, so I hope your death will at least be a little... entertaining."
The boy's smile faded. He felt tears fill his eyes, but tried his best to blink them back. How could someone be like that? So evil... so uncaring... The inky lyricist took and squeezed the little boy's hand to encourage him to come to the elevator and not to listen to the angel's words.
"D-dont worry. I'm f-fine," he stammered, wiping away the first tear that had rolled down his cheeks. Jack gave him an unbelieving look and pulled him out of the room, through the corridor and down the stairs, into the elevator.
"Sammy sad I had talent. He was always a good liar. Still, he was once a very handsome man. You didn't think I actually did not recognize him, did you?" She chuckled."Oh, I have already met him again before you came here. I was quite surprised how much he changed... And I killed him. Unfortunately, death doesn't last long in here. It's such a shame."
As the boy glanced around a last time before Jack pressed the elevator button, he was sure he saw a tall silhouette with a wide grin and an unnaturally thin stature staring down at him from the dark corridor up the stairs.
Sorry for not updating for a while! I was busy and had a lack of motivation. I will try updating more this month.
Chapter 20: Refusal
Henry slowly got out of the elevator, quickly followed by Jack. The Swollen One didn't leave his side, probably because he knew how bad Henry felt. Was it really that obvious? Was he really that bad at pretending to be fine?
The boy glanced back at the wolf, but it didn't seem like he wanted to leave his new hiding spot ever again. He didn't judge him, though. The toon had seen the other clones and what happened to them. He knew what the angel could do to him if she ever got hold of him. Henry just wasn't sure if the elevator really was the best place to hide... there was a strange feeling in his gut every time he got near the elevator.
While he made his way down the bridge and over the stairs he suddenly had a question pop up in his head; if Alice Angel was actually Susie before, then who were all the others? If there was one person stuck as a toon, there just had to be others. There were multiple ink creatures for a reason he still didn't understand. And they were apparently human once. Who was Bendy then? Who were all the Charley and Boris clones? Who was the Boris clone he was trying to escape with? What had happened down here to turn them into toons? The ink creatures all around the studio... Searchers, Swollen Ones, Lost Ones and Sammy... were they supposed to be toons as well? Sammy had four fingers instead of five, just like Boris... what exactly had happened here? Something must have gone terribly wrong.
Jack tugged his sleeve and interrupted the boy's thoughts. "Huh? Oh, I'm sorry, I was... lost in thoughts." The lyricist pointed on the strange box on the right side. "Is that where I have to put these?" He asked, holding up the gears. Jack nodded. With a sigh, the boy went closer. Finally he was able to get rid of the gears! He noticed the hatch on top of the box, and knew what he had to do. Henry carefully opened it and peeked into the darkness inside, before letting the gears fall down. Was he supposed to let go of the pipe wrench, too? It seemed so. The angel didn't give them other instructions. So he just threw it inside. There wasn't even a sound of the tool hitting the ground. Just silence. But of course it didn't last long.
"Have you seen them? The Swollen Ones?" Alice asked. Then she quickly added, "Oh, why do I even ask? One of your little friends is one..." There was a short pause before she started talking again. "They're just stuffed full of extra thick ink. It makes me sick! And yet... it's the perfect thing for keeping myself together. If you're going to catch them, you're going to have to learn to move quietly. Come back to my door, my little errand boy. I have something that you'll need."
Jack and Henry watched as a thin metal wall on the machine on their left turned, and another tool appeared. So this was were they would get their tools from. Walking towards the new weapon, he noticed it was a syringe. The eight year old slowly took it, and turned back to Jack to ask him where the other Swollen Ones could be. But Alice wasn't done talking yet.
"You know, you should actually start with your friend here," Alice said. "Don't worry, it won't hurt him. Ha, what am I even saying? It will hurt him a lot and kill him immediately. But to get what we want we have to take from others sometimes... you will understand."
The syringe fell out of his hand. A whimper came out of his mouth. Hurting and killing his friend? That was what she wanted him to do? "I c-can't... I can't... This isn't... how can you make me... do this?" He clenched his fists. "I don't want to hurt anyone! Or even... kill! I won't do this! This errand... I won't do it!" Jack came closer, and touched the boy's arm to calm him down, but Henry's whole body was shaking. He could hardly breathe. Just the thought of hurting anyone... he would never do this.
"So you want to stay here, when you could ascend to heaven?" she questioned quietly. Henry was surprised she spoke with Susie's voice to him. He had expected a less gentle reaction."I wish I had your innocence...", she muttered in a sad tone "I did once... but then it was taken from me... Ugh. Stupid feelings. Do what I told you, errand boy! Or do you want to die down here? The demon is still waiting. Do you not want your angel to keep you safe? To safe you from him?"
"Stop with your stupid game!" Henry shouted. "I am safe, even without you! I just want to help my friends and everyone else and go home! I am not going to hurt anyone for you! And killing... no! Don't expect me to do that, either! Even if killing is the only way I can leave... I won't! I'm not evil! I'm not a monster! I'm not as twisted as you!"
The lyricist looked up to him, seemingly terrified. He had every reason to be. The angel was dangerous. If she wanted to, she could kill every single one of them. She was dangerous. And he had made the mistake of talking back. Henry gulped. He had gone too far. She would do to them what she had done to the Boris and Charley clones in her lair, he was sure of it.
A sudden sob made him wheel around. Was that Jack? No, he seemed as confused and irritated as he was. Who was sobbing then? It sounded like a female voice. Was it... Susie who was sobbing? Maybe his harsh words had made her cry...
SHE COULD BE FAKING IT, Jack scribbled on the wall.
"I don't understand... why would she make me feel bad? What would she get from this?" Henry asked quietly.
SHE IS TRYING TO GUILT TRIP YOU. MANIPULATE YOU. MAKE YOU HER PUPPET.
Henry knew he was probably right. Alice seemed like the person to do that. The eight year old was just glad he knew what she wanted to do with him. He wouldn't let himself get manipulated so easily. He didn't know how her two voices worked. Maybe she wanted him to believe he could trust Susie's voice, but not the other one, Alice's? Alice... Susie... No. He refused to call her Susie anymore. This innocent woman was nothing like the creature that was giving them tasks. She might be what had become of her, but he would never think of her as this person.
"Alright, my little errand boy. If you don't want to do it I will do it myself. Just don't refuse another time. I'll make this simple. Look for valve panels. Turn the little wheels. Then bring me their power cores. Please don't make me regret sparing you. I can always change my mind." Was that a threat? Possibly. But he wasn't going to let her control him. Never!
He threw the syringe into the box and a plunger appeared on the metal wall. Where do they had to go now...? Again, Jack seemed to know where they had to go. He tugged Henry's sleeve and pointed on a door next to the elevator. As the two friends made their way over the bridge and up the stairs, Henry didn't dare to look back.
When they had reached the door and opened it, Susie's voice could suddenly be heard, "Once upon a time, there was an angel. And she was beautiful. And loved by all. She was perfect. No matter what Joey says." The last part was said while sobbing. Henry couldn't help but feel bad for her. He liked Susie, but not what had become of her. A part of him really wanted to help her, but could she even be helped anymore? After all she had done to the other toons' clones?
He had just gotten to a level with a door right next to the stairs, when the door suddenly opened and Sammy stumbled outside. His masks was crooked, and a bone stuck in his left leg. He was carrying things that looked like flashlights, but Henry wasn't entirely sure if they really were ones.
"Sammy, you're back!" Henry ran to the man, and gave him a hug. The musician let it happen. He didn't seem like he was in the mood for hugs, but he also looked like he wasn't hating it either. A short glance at Jack, and Henry knew he was a surprised as he was. The lyricist looked like he didn't know if he should hug the music director as well to let him know he also missed him or try to communicate through ink messages.
"Of course I am. What did you expect? Did you think I was going to abandon you?" Sammy asked in an annoyed tone. "Just because I now know Susie has went on a killing rampage I'm not going to leave. Besides, you would soon be dead without me. Anyway, here are these powere cores she wanted."
"H-how did you... how did you get them? I... I thought I'd need the plunger for that..." the boy stammered. "How did you even know how to...?" Jack was tugging his sleeve, but he was too curious to care. Whatever it was, it could wait. He needed to know what had happened. He hadn’t seen him for some time, and was just glad he had not gone back to the music department. Some part of him had feared he would never come back.
"Well, let's just say Wally has always been doing a terrible job. You need to have at least some technical knowledge because he sure as hell won't. By the way, you can hear her voice all over the place, wherever you are... she must have put speakers all over the place. I guess that makes sense. She doesn't want the Ink Demon to notice her helpers too quickly. And I have no idea why she gave you a plunger. Maybe for her own amusement? She sure laughed every time someone ran around with one because she imagined funny scenarios they were needed in."
"A-and what happen to your leg?" Henry questioned quietly. Jack was still tugging his sleeve, more impatiently than before. Couldn't he see they were talking? Sammy had just come back. Why couldn't he talk with him? He just decided to ignore him, and barely noticed the Swollen One taking the plunger out of his hand.
Sammy sighed, "Barley and Edgar weren't too happy about me entering their territory. And then the projectionist was suddenly there... I was originally just staying there to think, but it is not very easy when everyone is trying to kill you. And I thought I wasn't able to concentrate while actually doing my job-"
The plunger was thrown on the ground at full tilt. Both Henry and Sammy turned around to look at the lyricist.
"Are you crazy? This will only draw the Ink Demon's attention-"
Jack pointed at the message he had written on the wall, looking around nervously. WE SHOULD GO. HE IS COMING. DON'T YOU FEEL IT?
Sammy let out a few curses. "I'm such an idiot! I have let my guard down. We are everything but safe-"
It was too late. Ink was coming down the stairs, moving on the walls as if it was a living creature. Henry caught his breath, when the ink reached his feet. Then the Ink Demon turned around the corner.
Chapter 21: Hiding
Henry heard the music director letting go of what he was holding. He felt Sammy grabbing his left arm, pulling him away from the demon. "Run, my lord! We need to hide! There's a miracle station right there!" He was probably pointing somewhere, while he was making the eight-year old follow him inside the corridor he had been coming from. But the boy didn't see it. He was too focused on Bendy, the Ink Demon, who followed them, hissing and reaching his arm out to grab him.
The eight-year old barely noticed the message on the wall next to him as the musician yelled at him to move on his own. He didn't know why he was frozen. He should move. Who knew what the demon would do to him if he was caught? But there was a whisper in his mind, getting louder and louder, telling him to let the demon come closer. Was that Bendy? Why did he listen to him? Maybe because he didn't believe he could truly be evil.
He heard a door opening and was pulled inside the miracle station. The moment he entered the voice in his head disappeared. "What-?"
Sammy covered his mouth. Ink dropped on the boy's lips and left a bitter taste in his mouth. Henry resisted the urge to retch, and instead focused on the demon in front of the door with wide, fearful eyes. Bendy was cocking his head, his never disappearing smile shaking even more. The large demon let out an angry hiss and put his larger hand on the door. Sammy hugged Henry to himself, as ink started to appear on their side of the door...
A sudden flash of light and the ink demon withdrew his hand, making a sound that seemed to be a whimper, but Henry was not entirely sure. Bendy stumbled a few steps backward, staring at them for a few seconds before he started to head in a different direction. Henry and Sammy watched as he walked to a wall and disappeared inside of an ink stain.
"He should have known better," Alice commented with a happy voice. She must have felt schadenfreude, seeing the creature even she was afraid of getting hurt. "I hope he does it again sometime..."
"A-are we... s-safe now...?" His voice wasn't more than a whisper. "I-is he really... g-gone?"
"I think so, my lord... he will try again later. I have... never seen my former lord act like that. It's a rule not to try to get something inside a miracle station... why did he do that...? You must be special..."
"Whatever you say..." Henry muttered, not really listening to the last part. "Could you... let me go? I want to go back to Alice with what you collected."
"But of course, my lord!" As soon as he was let go by the music director, he opened the door of the miracle station and walked into the corridor. He remembered the message he had seen earlier and went to look at it. After all, it could be helpful. I DON'T WANT TO WORK HERE ANYMORE. A handprint was right under it. Knowing a little more about what had happened, he felt sorry for the person who left the message. If his theory was correct, and the toons he had met earlier were workers... but not only them, also the Searchers, Swollen Ones and Lost Ones Sammy had mentioned... then this place was a nightmare. DREAMS COME TRUE, one of the messages has been. More like nightmares. But he didn't want to think about it. He needed to distract himself.
"Yes, my lord and savior?" Henry chose to ignore what he was called, and just wait for the normal Sammy to come back. Asking a tricky question might be the solution. He had figured asking Sammy about his mask would be a thing that made him furious, so he'd come back. Even after becoming his friend, he hadn't taken it off once. There had to be a reason for it, but he hadn't asked because he thought it would anger the musician.
"Why are you wearing that mask? Are you hiding something?" He asked with a sheepish grin.
"I must resemble the most perfect form I know," the prophet replied.
"After you decided to switch sides? You are not Bendy's prophet any more, are you?" Henry questioned quietly. "It's his face you are wearing. I don't understand why you'd do that after all that happened..."
"I'm your prophet only, my lord. I lost my fate in this imposter. This... deceiver."
"How do you even see with that mask on?"
"How do you see with your mask off?" Henry was taken aback. He couldn't see without his mask? But why? Other ink people could see just fine. Couldn't they...?
With a sigh, he turned away from the musician. Why did he ever have faith that this would actually work? He returned to the power cores and GENT pipe next to the stairs and picked two of them up. Sammy was silent as he took the rest as well as their weapon.
"You're quite the efficient little errand boy, aren't you?" Henry jumped at the sound of her voice. He wasn't sure where she was, but every time he heard her voice he knew he was going to be in danger soon enough. "I wouldn't have thought that. You are so young... and innocent... How did you not die down here so far? I would have loved to see that..." She laughed, and it made Henry's flesh crawl.
"Don't be scared, my lord. It's just that stupid angel. She can't hurt you. She isn't nearby. And even if she was, you are too powerful," the prophet said. Henry was too annoyed by the previous experience to correct him. He didn't think it would work anyway. It was useless to talk to Sammy while he was in his crazed state of mind.
"Where's Jack?" He asked instead, his voice shaking a little. A short pause. "You... do know where he is, don't you?"
"Who? Oh, you mean the Swollen One, don't you? He is in a pretty good condition if you ignore everyone's circumstances in the studio. He has apparently decided to join Boris in the elevator. I can feel his presence even here. But don't worry, my lord. The Ink Demon cannot get inside. Even though he should after he didn't try to help us..."
"Jack warned us that the Ink Demon was coming, but we didn't listen. We should have paid more attention to him and Bendy wouldn't have seen us..." Henry let out a sigh. "Let's just return to Alice... maybe we are finally finished with all of her tasks now?" It sounded more like a hopeful question now that he had said it.
They made their way down the stairs, and every time they heard a creak, Sammy grabbed the boy's arm and they froze, ready to run from the demon. But he never came. Had he gotten bored? Had that flash of light at the miracle station hurt him more than they had thought? Alice was definitely amused to see their reactions to the sounds, wherever she was. They could hear her laugh through the speakers. Just why was she always watching? Did she want to see them fail? Did she only make them do this task for her personal amusement?
As they had almost reached the bottom of the stairs, Susie started talking again, "There was a time when people knew my name. 'It's Alice Angel!' they'd say. Feels like so long ago. But those days can come back. Dreams come true, Susie. Dreams come true. Nobody can keep you away from them."
"S-Susie..." Sammy whimpered, and stared up at the ceiling, looking around for the speakers.
Henry stood next to him and gave the inky man a worried look. He just didn't know what to do. Was he supposed to say something? The last time he did, Sammy had snapped at him. But staying silent wasn't an option either. They needed to go back to Alice. Only there, the Ink Demon wouldn't appear.
"We will help her, I promise," he said quietly. "Everything will become better."
Sammy turned in his direction. For a moment, Henry thought he wanted to say something, but then he nodded, and they continued on their way to the Angel's lair. The silence was almost unsettling.
When they put the required items into the machine on the right side, Henry felt relieved it hadn't taken them so long. Or did it? There was no clock around. No way to check the time. At least not here.
"You see those grinning demons?" Alice asked. "Let's remove them, shall we? I've got just the tool to make this even more enjoyable."
Sammy approached the machine on the left and carefully picked up an axe. "Alright then... I don't know what his reaction will be like... he sees through them and watches every part of the studio. I don't know what he will do after we destroyed them."
"Maybe we should refuse then?" Henry suggested.
Sammy shook his head. "The angel told you that she will not let you refuse a second time. Who knows what she will do then? Let's just do what she said and hope for the best outcome."
"Before we go and destroy all of those stupid cutouts, I want to see what's behind these planks up there." Sammy pointed on a door right next to the elevator. Henry could see Boris and Jack inside of the lift, waving at them. He gave them a big smile, and waved back at them. "Every time something is boarded up, there is something hidden behind it. If we immediately do what Alice told us to do, she will just take our weapon away. I want to know it now. To be honest, I'm pretty surprised you aren't jumping up and down in excitement. You had to listen to every audio recording and went the demon path because you wanted to know what was in there. Maybe you finally learnt your lesson." Sammy cocked his head, and looked at him. The boy stayed quiet, embarrassed about his actions.
So they made their way up the stairs, passing the elevator with Boris and Jack inside, who both watched them in curiosity. Sammy either didn't notice or didn't care. Either way, he scuffed passed them and started destroying the planks, while Henry stayed a few steps away from him in case something came out to attack them. He watched as the musician entered the room, and didn't dare to take a step closer.
"It's another recording, Henry! From a guy called Grant Cohen ... how interesting..."
He heard the familiar sound of the play button being pressed, and listened carefully.
They say the real problem with mister Drew is that he never tells us little people anything. Oh sure, according to him there's always big stuff coming, adventure and fame and the like. But I'm the guy, see, who has to make sure our budgets don't go all out of whack just cause genius upstairs went out and got himself another idea.
Mister Cohen sighed, sounding stressed and annoyed. Poor guy.
Speaking of which, and this is top secret, apparently mister Drew has another large project in mind now... and it ain't gonna be cheap.
"Do you know him?" Henry asked, when the audio log finished. Sammy stepped out of the room, and he could tell he was trying to remember anything he could about the man.
"The name sounds familiar," Sammy replied, putting his thumb and forefinger on his chin . "But I cannot remember ever seeing or talking to him. But he was the accountant, I am sure of that. You know what an accountant is, right?"
Henry shook his head. "No, I don't. I'm sorry."
"He was pretty much just responsible for keeping Joey from spending all our money. He did a terrible job at that."
"Why do you think that?"
"Oh, you know, I am just making assumptions. Joey had a toy workshop be built in here, hired people, had plans for an amusement park, hired more people, and then he had GENT install an ink machine with pipes all around the studio. It's just assumptions," Sammy muttered, making gestures that looked like he wanted to strangle Joey.
"An amusement park?" Henry repeated doubtfully.
Sammy sighed. "Let's not talk about it, please. The ink machine is already bad enough. I don’t want to get reminded of anything related to it."
They stepped into the elevator, and Henry watched as the musician pressed the button for level K. "All cutouts are on that level," he explained when he noticed Henry's questioning look. Then he turned to look at Jack. "Will you stay in the elevator like Boris from now on or will you come with us?"
Alice screamed bloody murder about her elevator being demolished, as Jack scribbled, COME WITH YOU. WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT?
Weirdly enough, when Sammy, Jack and Henry arrived back at the door leading to the demon path, the two ink beings could only see a door on the left which was invisible for the eight year old boy. That was where the angel path had been, but they couldn't see the door on the right. Henry just didn't understand this strange phenomenon. How could they see completely different things? Was it because of which path they choose?
"So you are saying that there is another door...? A door I cannot see? And you can't see my door?Is that even possible?" He frowned, and turned to look at the others. Jack only shrugged, but Sammy seemed amused by the boy's questions.
"We are in a cartoon world, Henry," he replied with a chuckle. "This place keeps changing a lot and hides things in plain sight. Every time you turn your back, doors lock and unlock, ink puddles appear out of nowhere, corridors change their directions, and one item replaces the other. Even rooms vanish and reappear!"
"Really?" Henry asked. "That... that actually happens?"
The music director nodded. "Believe me, I know exactly what I am talking about. This studio has been like this even before everything turned into this inky hell..." He let out a sigh. "See you on the other side, Henry. If Bendy shows up, run. Don't just stand still like you did before and die because I wasn't there, or I'll personally hunt down and, uh... tickle... you?"
The boy wasn't sure why Sammy had hesitated to say the last part. Had he meant to say something completely else? It seemed possible. If he had, what could it have been?
Jack snorted, and looked up at the other man, seemingly amused. YOU WOULD BE A GREAT DAD, he wrote.
"I'm not... Just shut up!" Sammy growled.
I AM NOT TALKING. Henry was almost certain that the Swollen One was grinning like an idiot. Frowning, the boy glanced at the broken pieces of a cutout only a few meters away. It didn't feel good to destroy them. They had never been the problem. They were harmless and hadn't done anything wrong. There was a weird feeling in his gut, like he was destroying something wonderful he made. He didn't understood why this feeling was even there.
"Let's just finish our job. I don't want to waste my time and wait for Bendy to kill me. That's what the projectionist does."
That made Henry turn back around. "The projectionist? What-?"
He didn't finish the question. He didn't need to. The two musicians had mysteriously disappeared. He looked around for his friends, but he already knew where they were. They hadn't waited for a response, and decided to make their way back through the door of the angel path as fast as they could. But how would any of them get out of there again? Weren't both entrances blocked by some sort of barricade?
The boy sighed, and slowly waded through the ink, passing Joey Drew's tape recorder without even glancing in its direction. He had listened to it, why bother doing it a second time? When he reached the other side of the room and got to the entrance, he was surprised that he could leave the room. The barrier was gone.
"We should hurry," Sammy said. Henry jumped at the sudden sound of his voice. He hadn't even realized they had been standing right in front of the entrance to the angel path. "Our way back to the elevator is already longer than it should be, and we haven't even reached the last cutouts yet. I don't even want to imagine what happens if the Ink Demon shows up again..."
"But aren't there miracle stations nearby?" Henry asked.
NOT ENOUGH, the lyricist wrote on a wall. NEVER ENOUGH.
"You might think they are close enough together," Sammy muttered, "but once 'he' follows you it's impossible not to realize you are about to die because... well, he is so close and there is no place to hide. Ugh, why are we always discussing these topics right where he can find us? Let's just hurry up before he comes and actually kills us."
Henry had stopped counting how many of the cutouts had been hit into pieces some time ago. How many cutouts were placed around here anyway? He didn't know. And didn't really care either. What he knew was that every time a cutout was hit by the axe, the musician looked around for a few seconds. The boy knew exactly why. A while ago, Sammy almost overlooked the first cutout right next to the elevator, and if Jack hadn’t screeched and pointed it out to them, Henry wasn’t sure if they would have noticed it.
There were only three placed around a couch right next to them. Three fast hits, and there were only pieces lying around.
“Ah, now that was fun!” Alice sighed. “Oh! But I forgot to mention... he hates it when I do that. I would hide if I were you.” The angel laughed like she had made a funny joke. She really didn’t care about them. It was just for her own amusement.
Sammy opened the door of the miracle station next to them. Jack was in there in no time. Henry hesitated for a second, before he went in there as well. As Sammy entered, he closed the door behind them. There was not much space in there, but Henry was grateful for his friends being in there with him. He knew he would have panicked if he was alone.
Bendy’s dark, inky aura filled the room, and they watched as he passed their hiding spot. The moment he saw the broken cutouts he growled and looked around in anger. Henry didn’t dare to breath. His hair was glued to his forehead from the sweat.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the Ink Demon teleported through a wall and his aura disappeared. They waited a minute in silence, before Sammy opened the door. Henry’s legs were shaking, and he stumbled outside like a drunk man. He felt so weak...
HENRY? Jack scribbled on the ground in front of him.
“I-it’s fine, really...” Henry muttered. “Let’s just return to Alice and... maybe we are finally finished?”
Sammy gave him a doubtful look. “Henry, you are completely exhausted. I will give you a piggyback ride.”
“N-no! I can walk! I am old enough to walk on my own!” But despite his protests, the musician crouched down to let him put his arms around his neck. When Henry realized Sammy wouldn’t listen to him, he sighed and did what the man wanted. Deep down, he knew his friend was right. Jack seemed more than amused by this, and made sounds that resembled laughter. Henry was just glad Boris didn’t see him like this.
Sammy straighten himself and for a moment the boy thought he would fall down. Luckily, he didn’t.
His friend had only made a few steps in the direction of the stairs, when the room started to shake, and a giant searcher came out of a puddle with a loud moan. He was big enough that he could have filled the whole elevator.
“Why does this always happen?!” Sammy yelled and stumbled a few steps backwards. Henry’s eyes widened as the giant searcher came closer, and Jack screeched in horror, covering his head with his hands.
I just listened to Dreams Cone To Life audio and I’m going to ignore what they did with Sammy. He’s still one of my favorite characters, but I will not write him like he is in the book
Chapter 23: Shawn
Only a few inches away from them, the Searcher stopped, cocking its head. Why didn't it attack them? It had the chance to do so... what was it waiting for? Henry stared at it with fearful eyes and quivering lips. That giant searcher was so much bigger than the Ink Demon... what would it do with them? Could they all still hide inside the miracle station? He wasn't sure what would happen if they did. The Searcher was probably big and strong enough to destroy the hiding place with one hit and hurt them all, maybe even... no, he wouldn't think about that possibility. But they couldn't stay in the open either. In the worst case, the noise would draw Bendy to them and they would have to deal with two creatures that wanted to hurt them.
Then, in a movement so sudden that Henry almost fell from Sammy's back, the giant ink creature slowly reached for Henry. Sammy stumbled a few steps back and held the axe up with shaking hands. "If... if you want to hurt Henry you will have to kill me, you monster! I am not going to let him get hurt! NEVER!" he yelled at the ink creature. Henry slid down his back, unsure what to think of the situation.
Jack crawled in front of Sammy, hissing at the Searcher and raising his fists. It looked more adorable than threatening, but Henry appreciated it nonetheless. He watched as the Searcher withdrew its hand, watching them in what seemed to be curiosity. Maybe he wanted friends? Perhaps he just wanted to help them? Who knew how long the Searcher had been hiding here...
"G-guys, we really don't need to fight..." he muttered, glancing at his friends. "He doesn't seem aggressive or anything... just... curious... I... I really don't want to hurt him..."
Sammy snorted. "Curiosity can turn into something different very fast, Henry. Alice, for example, wants us to do her work to see how long we are able to survive her game, but would kill us the moment she finally gets bored of us. Just because this thing hasn't attacked us right now that doesn't mean-"
"But this Searcher has been an employee of the studio before, just like you and Jack! It would be unfair if we just fought him even though he haven't done anything to us. Leaving them here, alone, that would be heartless! Except from Bendy, nobody has actually attacked me before. Nobody has a reason to actually attack me," Henry argued.
"And I don't count?" Sammy asked, turning his head to look at him. "I knocked you out and tied you up. I even try to sacrifice you to the Ink Demon, didn't I? I am really offended you forgot about it so fast... it was a huge deal!"
"But... you are my friend now! Why should I hold grudges against you? It's not like you would do it again. Come on, Sammy! There's no reason we couldn't at least try to befriend him! The more people we are the better we survive in here, don't we?" Henry looked at Sammy with big puppy eyes, pursing his lips. "Please, we should at least try!"
"Ugh, fine!" Sammy finally said. "Just don't come back crying when he hurts you." The Searcher bent forward and hissed at him. It didn't seem to intimidate Sammy one bit. "What? It's true! Do you know how intimidating you look?"
"Yay, I have a new friend!" Henry cheered and approached the startled Searcher who crawled a little bit back, like he wasn't sure how to handle the situation. "You can come with us on our way out of here."
The musician glared at the ink creature. "If you even thinks about hurting Henry I will- stop laughing, Jack! This is everything but funny! I don't want to see you making any stupid comments about it!" Sammy made a sound that Henry could only describe as a sound of pure annoyance and frustration. He giggled and exchanged glances with Jack whom he gave a thumbs up. The lyricist seemed more than happy about it.
Beaming at the Searcher, Henry hugged one of its arms. It froze, making a confused gurgle and looked down at him. "Do you remember your name?" The eight year old asked quietly. "It's fine if you don't, but... I need to call you some name... or else it will be weird..." It took a few seconds, but then the Searcher nodded. With its free arm, it started drawing a letter on the ground. S. Obviously, it could neither be Sammy nor Susie. Had he heard of another person with an S as their first letter? He didn't know... It continued with an H and then with an A. Sha... which name started with- wait, Shawn?
"You're Shawn Flynn, aren't you? That... that toy maker from the recording next to the toy machine?" The boy let go of the giant Searcher's arm and made a step backwards, staring at the ink creature with wide eyes. The Searcher's nod confirmed his thought.
Jack relaxed and crawled a little bit closer, but the music director didn't seem too happy about it. "Oh my god, not this guy!" Sammy groaned. "Anyone but this guy! He is just as bad as Wally!"
"You know him?" Henry asked with a frown. Shawn seemed interested as well, but the boy was not sure if it was because he didn't remember or because he was just curious about the musician's opinion on him. "You didn't really seemed to recognize him, when we listened to his recording earlier..."
"It is pretty hard not to know this guy. Shawn was way too active for my liking, and did not let anyone tell him what he had to do, not even Joey. He did whatever he wanted and I think he became Wally's role model after a while. Those two were friends in no time," Sammy sighed. "And just for your information, it is not very easy to remember things if you have been stuck as an ink creature for so long. Your mind will remember it whenever it wants, if it even does that is..."
HE WAS LOUD, Jack had written on the ground. AND VERY ENERGETIC. He looked at Sammy in worry, and petted his back to comfort him. Henry didn't share their experiences, he didn't know what it was like, so he just stayed silent and watched for a while. He felt so sorry for them. How could he help? How could he make them feel better? There had to be a way.
He couldn't take watching them anymore, and turned to look Shawn. f it was true what they had said he wouldn't have any problems with him. Not at all. He sounded like a lot of fun. "We are trying to get out of the studio. The Ink Demon is trying to catch us, and Alice seems pretty dangerous as well. Do you want to come with us?" The Searcher nodded without hesitation.
"He is not going to fit inside the elevator, Henry. We can not take him with us. And if Boris sees him, he will get a heart attack," Sammy muttered.
"There are stairs to every level in here, aren't they? I'm sure he can crawl up and down," Henry replied. "We can accompany him! And as soon as we get to Boris, we will explain. I'm sure he will understand it."
"And what if Bendy appears? What are we going to do then?" Sammy asked. "Not using the elevator is risky."
WE NEED TO BE QUICK AND BE CLOSE TO A MIRACLE STATION, Jack wrote with a shrug. YOU ALREADY ESCAPED ONCE. NO BIG DEAL. For Henry, it was. He hadn’t run away the last time. He hadn’t been able to run. He felt worried and scared, but tried his best not to show it.
Sammy gave them a look of defeat. Henry grinned broadly, while Shawn was petting the boy with one of his big hands. He couldn't help but feel proud of himself. He had made a new friend and was a little closer to finally get out of the studio.
"I see you got yourself another little pet. How cute~ But I hope you realize you can't keep them anyway. They can't leave. That's a shame, don't you think?" Alice commented, when they reached her door. Shawn hissed, not being too happy about being called a pet, and Sammy and Jack exchanged annoyed glances. She giggled at this, probably watching them from far away. Henry just didn't understand how someone could be happy about offending anyone. It was so mean... but then again, she tortured and killed Butcher Gang members and Boris clones. She loved hurting others. Just how did Susie turn into this monster? Being replaced was bad and all, but that was no reason to become like this. What had been done to her?
Her voice became angrier, as she gave them a new task. "Ugh, I just HATE leaving work unfinished! Fortunately, I have you, my little errand boy, to pick up the pieces. It's so nice of you to help me out. But for that, you have to go even deeper. Down, down, down into the abyss. Take the lift down. Why don't you all say hello to an old friend?" She chuckled. "I'm sure it will be a happy reunion!"
Henry exchanged looks with Jack and Shawn, but they appeared to be just as clueless as he was. Old friend? Who could possibly be meant by that? There was the possibility it was a person who left an audio recording, but Henry knew there were more employees Whoever it was, it had to be someone they knew. But he didn't like the tone she was speaking with...
"The abyss?" Sammy repeated quietly. Henry noticed he was worried. Did he know what the angel was talking about? Who the ‘old friend’ was she wanted them to meet? Or was he just scared of the place Alice wanted them to go to? "I have a really bad feeling about that, Henry. I don't think we should go there..."
"But I already refused to do one of her errands! Who knows what she will do to us..." Henry muttered, shivering. He didn't want to find out what she would do to him in that case. Probably the same thing she had done to all the Boris clones.
"Sending you a little present." Alice's voice was quiet, but it still made the boy jump. "A little... firepower. Take good care of it. It belonged to someone very special~" They watched as a new weapon appeared next to them. A... gun? She was giving them a gun? Did that mean there was a dangerous creature down there? Would they have to hurt someone? He shivered in fear. And who did the gun belong to? Sammy, maybe? He was special to her, wasn't he?
He glanced at Sammy who simply shrugged. "It's not from me. I have never held a gun before. Still, if that’s the only weapon we can use, we should take it ..." The musician stepped to the weapon and reached his hand out to take it. The moment he touched it, it dissolved into ink. He stood there in shock for a second, before he turned back to his friends.
Henry’s eyes widened. No weapon...? “I-I did not... it was not me, I swear!” Sammy stuttered. Shawn growled and Jack whimpered in fear. How were they supposed to protect themselves? They couldn’t just go without protection.
"Oops, I forgot. It's a little hard to get ahold of. Better luck next time." Alice started laughing. “Seriously, what were you expecting? You wouldn’t give it back after I gave it to you, and that would have been bad for me. Why would you worry about it? You won’t need it anyway.” Henry knew it was a lie. Both her tone and that Sammy clenched his fists were obvious signs. The musician already knew what was down there. And whatever it was, it was almost as dangerous as the Ink Demon.
Chapter 24: The Projectionist
"So... which level do we have to go to?" Henry asked, glancing at the music director. What exactly did he know? What was down there? Why wasn't he telling them anything? They had to know about it. Sammy certainly knew a lot more than him, and didn't even think it was worth mentioning. Why did he not trust him? Weren't friends supposed to tell everything to each other?
"Level fourteen," Sammy replied. "I honestly don't think you can reach it with the stairs. It looks like Shawn will have to stay here and wait for us to come back." The Searcher turned to look at him and hissed as a response. He obviously didn't seem too fond of the idea of being left behind, and Henry didn't blame him for that. It sounded boring and he had possibly been alone a long time. The boy didn't understand why the toy maker should not be able to follow them. Wouldn’t his size keep aggressive creatures away?
"But Shawn can teleport, can't he?" The little boy questioned. "It would be easy for him to follow us. So why does he have to stay here?"
The musician sighed. "As far as I know, the area we are going to is filled with a... special sort of ink. It is the same in the Ink Demon is made of. A few of us are able to go through it without being injured like me, but the rest will not be able to hold their body together." He paused for a moment and looked at Henry, as if he was waiting for questions, before continuing. "The ink usually has a deadly effect on anything nearby. The Butcher Gang, for example, immediately dissolve if they come in contact with it. Even Alice is afraid of it. I still don't know why her lair is filled with that ink though. I know she wants it to be a safe place, far away from everything that could injure her, but there's always the possibility of falling into it."
"A-and why are you able to...?" He didn't finish his sentence. They all knew what he wanted to know.
"I used to be his prophet, Henry. Only I and those who are almost as strong as him can't die this way. There really aren't many that strong," Sammy replied, pressing the button for the elevator to open.
Henry frowned. Almost as strong as the Ink Demon...? There was someone almost as strong as the demon lurking around the studio? It was hard to believe. Almost impossible, in fact. The Ink Demon could appear at any given second and had somehow controlled Henry's mind before, making him not able to move. Surely Bendy was capable of more than just that. Could there even be something near his power? He didn't think so.
The wolf was standing in the inside, cocking his head as soon as he saw their new companion. He didn't seem scared like Henry expected him to be. He actually seemed rather curious, almost a little relaxed. Like he knew who it was. "Boris, this is Shawn. Don't worry, he won't come with us right now. He's way too big to be in here." The toon stared at the Searcher for a moment, turned to look at Sammy and nodded. He wouldn't complain. Shawn stared at the toon for a while, but then he lost interest and looked back at a Henry, pointing at Bors with a loud moan.
The eight year old didn’t understand what his friend wanted, but it didn’t seem like he would get the chance to ask, as Sammy pulled him into the elevator. The boy glanced at Shawn and gave him a sad smile, waving him goodbye. He hoped he was patient enough to wait for them. Maybe he wasn't, and they'd never see him again. Unfortunately, that thought seemed very realistic. The music director pressed the button for Level fourteen, and the elevator doors closed. The lift slowly moved down. Henry sighed. When would his adventure finally end? Sure, he always wanted a dangerous situation to prove himself and be a hero, but now that he was thrown into such an adventure he realized that exciting things were scary. He knew he wasn't supposed to have this realization, but it happened. There was no way he could think like that again.
It felt like an eternity until they finally reached the bottom. They were still pretty high up. Stairs were leading down. He wasn't sure what room they were currently in. It was definitely very big, but he didn't understand what they'd need such a big room for. The doors opened, and Henry was about to step out of the elevator, when Sammy grabbed his arm. "I will do it alone. You will stay in the elevator until I come back," he said in a serious tone.
Henry stared at him for a moment. He couldn't be serious. "B-but I want to help!" he shouted. "Why can't I come with you, Sammy? I could-"
Sammy shook his head. "No, Henry. It is too dangerous. Believe me, you really do not want to find out what is down there. Just... please be good and do as I told you. Boris and Jack will keep you company. I will be back soon, I promise." He turned away and started walking to the stairs that were leading down. Only now Henry saw the lifeless body lying there. Another Butcher Gang member whom he couldn't identify. It looked like the spider toon, but he didn't know his name.
Sammy kneeled down in front of it and Henry watched as he took something from the small toon's hand. Dark ink was dripping from it. Almost like blood. It only took him a few seconds to realize what the item was the musician had collected, and he felt the urge to throw up. A heart. She wanted them to collect hearts from corpses.
The boy felt someone put his hand on his shoulder, before he was turned around and pulled into a hug. Confused, he looked up. "Boris...?" Henry knew he didn't want him to feel bad, and he was touched by it. Smiling, he hugged him back. "It's fine, Boris. I'm fine. You're a good friend, you know?"
A tug at his sleeve made him look down. Jack was sitting there, crossing his inky arms. Henry laughed. "You're a Good friend, too!" He was lucky he had such good friends in a place like this. He really was.
He didn't know how much time had already passed, but it felt like an eternity to him. The boy sighed and leaned against the cold metal lattice of the elevator. It was just so incredibly boring! Even though Jack and Boris were in the same elevator as him, they both seemed to be lost in thoughts. They were worried about Sammy, which was understandable, but he wished they could talk to him. They were so close, but still hard to reach for Henry. He knew they wanted to be left alone for a while. But he just wished they could communicate verbally instead of just writing on the walls like Jack did, and Boris' gestures. Henry needed someone to tell him Sammy was fine, and those two wouldn't do that. Couldn't do that.
The sound of footsteps made him look up. Someone was coming up the stairs. "Sammy?" He whispered, smiling in excitement. He beamed at the others, but... Jack looked at him in a way he didn't understand, almost like he had given up on everything, and Boris stared at the stairs with wide, fearful eyes. Why were they acting so... odd?
There was a buzzing sound that kept getting louder and louder. What was that? He turned back to the top of the stairs with a frown. There was a sudden flash of light that dazzled him. He closed his eyes, but the light didn’t disappear. It only seemed to become brighter. He turned his head in a different direction. It was better, but not much.
Jack squeaked and Boris let out a whimper. Something came closer. He could hear ink dripping on the floor and heavy footsteps. Henry knew it wasn’t Sammy, but he didn’t dare to open his eyes and see what it was. His heart was beating faster and he was sure everyone around him could hear it.
And suddenly, a wet, sticky hand touched his forehead. Henry opened his mouth to scream, but no sound ever came out. He didn’t want to open his eyes. He didn’t want to see what was there. But he still turned back and opened his eyes. He couldn’t really explain later why he did it.
What he saw was absolutely horrifying. The creature was tall and it’s head was replaced by a projector with wires attached to it. There was a film reel stuck on one shoulder and a speaker on its stomach.
The ink creature cocked its head. Henry had to blink repeatedly as the light that came out of the projector was very bright. He stumbled a few steps backwards until his back touched the metal lattice. He whimpered as the creature came closer. Boris was covering his head with his big, gloved hands and Jack had sneaked behind the ink creature, possibly to attack it. Or to flee. Henry wouldn’t blame him if he did.
“NORMAN, LEAVE HIM ALONE!”
Chapter 25: Fall
Henry slowly turned his head and sighed in relief. Sammy was standing at the top of the stairs, carrying five ink hearts in his arms. He chocked them on the ground as he slowly approached the ink creature from behind. Henry kept glancing back and forth between the projector head thing and Sammy as he wasn't sure if it would attack him or not.
When the creature finally noticed that Boris and Henry were staring at something behind it, it wheeled around and stared at Sammy. Now all eyes were focused on the former musician. There was a moment of silence. Well, not really. The buzzing sound of the projector that replaced the ink creature's head was pretty irritating. The boy put his hands on his ears, but he could still hear it. It was only a little muffled.
"Oh god, the Projectionist is deaf, I forgot," Sammy muttered. "That's... bad. It will make getting through to him almost impossible..." The Projectionist, as Sammy had called him, cocked his head as if trying to understand what the music director had said.
Henry's eyes dilated. "Y-you want to get... get through to him? How? A-and why?"
"You have already gotten through to three ink creatures including me. I know who the Projectionist used to be and... I want to help him." He sighed and looked away from them. Henry wondered what he was thinking. It was almost like he felt responsible for the Projectionist. "The only problem is that he can neither talk nor hear anything. All he can do is see what his light touches and feel pain when someone attacks him. He is not even lucid enough to recognize anyone or anything, so I am not sure if he would be able to read the message or write something down. I think physical contact might help to make him realize we are his friends and not his enemies."
Jack was the first one to slowly get closer to the Projectionist. He raised his inky hand to touch the and comfort him, but as soon as the tall ink creature noticed the movement it screeched and stroke out at the Swollen One who quickly backed away with a whimper.
"That was a really dumb move. He will not let anyone close to him," Sammy commented, which earned him a knee punch from the lyricist. The music director didn't seem angry about it though. "What? He is constantly getting attacked and killed by the Ink Demon. Of course he will not let anyone near him. It will take time for him to let it happen."
YOU COULD HAVE TOLD ME BEFORE I DID ANYTHING, Jack wrote and crossed his arms.
"I was about to do that," Sammy replied. "But you just couldn't let me finish."
OF COURSE YOU WERE.
The eight year old boy couldn't help smiling. He knew the situation was actually quite tense, but the two inky musicians were a distraction from the Projectionist in front of him.
"I'm just surprised Norman has not attacked anyone yet. Maybe he is more lucid than I thought. After all, he didn't attack Henry but actually seemed rather curious when he saw him."
"D-did you say Norman?" Henry asked. "Like... the employee working with the projectors? The one you never talk about?"
Sammy turned to look at him and muttered under his breath, "You should have kept your mouth shut, Sammy. You really should have..."
"Sammy, please explain why you didn't-"
"What are you doing, my little errand boy?!" Alice's voice questioned through the speakers. Henry squeaked in surprise and he could feel that Jack had fallen back into the habit of hugging his leg. It suddenly got bright and it took a moment for him to realize that the Projectionist was watching them curiously. "You're trying my patience! I would advise you to come back before I finally run out of it. I don't have all day. And I really wouldn't enjoy having to kill you just because your young mind still doesn't understand the concept of time." She chuckled. They heard a crack in the speakers, before it was silent again.
"She is desperate," Sammy mumbled and looked around the room like he was lost in thoughts. "There’s something she wants... But what exactly is it that she is trying to archive...?"
Henry noticed that the Projectionist had started to move in his direction. He winced when he came closer, but Norman scuffed past him and into the elevator. Boris whimpered and covered his head with his hands. The Projectionist stared at him for a moment, but then he lost interest in him after just a few seconds.
Jack, Henry and Sammy exchanged looks. “I guess he wants to join us...?” Sammy muttered.
HE’S PROBABLY SO BORED HE LIKES EVERY DISTRACTION HE GETS.
“That is a very valid reason. Especially because Bendy loves killing him,” Sammy muttered and picked up the ink hearts that were still lying on the ground. “Let’s just hope Norman does not get bored while being in the elevator with us...”
He didn’t get bored. In fact, he seemed quite interested in the message Jack had left inside the elevator. Still, Henry was kept the furthest away from him. They all clustered in one corner of the elevator, while the Projectionist was in the other. He wasn’t really bothered by it though. He didn’t even showed much interest in them which was probably the best for everyone involved.
When they reached Alice’s lair Shawn was still waiting in front of it. He was lying on the ground, but when he noticed them he sat up. The moment he saw the Projectionist he hissed, but Norman just walked past him and started examining one of the broken miracle stations.
When they reached the entrance to Alice’s lair, Sammy threw the five ink hearts into the box next to it. Henry watched as they fell into the darkness of the box. What could Alice possibly want with all these things? The previous items had made sense for a machine, but these hearts...
"It seems like we've reached the end of my todo list, my little errand boy," Alice said in a sad tone. "What a shame! I wished we could have had a little bit more time... if only we had..." Henry sighed in relief. Finally! This had taken forever! He smiled happily, but Alice wasn't finished yet. "Oh well, you can't choose the circumstances under which you meet someone, can you? I sure hope you enjoyed our time together. I'll always treasure it. Return to the lift now, little one. It's time to go home."
"Sammy, we will be able to go home now!" Henry cheered and beamed at the inky man.
"I know, I heard it," he answered drily and looked in the opposite direction. Henry wasn't sure why he acted like this. Was he mad? But why should he mad? Had Henry done something wrong? He didn't remember doing anything bad, but who knew what part of his behavior had bothered him?
"S-sammy, are you alright? You don't seem very-"
"I am fine, don't worry about me," Sammy replied. Henry gave him a worried look, but decided not to ask.
They reached the elevator, but when Jack was about to crawl inside, Alice hissed, "No! Not you! Only Boris and my little errand boy will get to ascend to heaven! I won't allow any of you to leave if you go in the elevator with him. Be glad I am kind enough to let him leave after all the writing on my property!"
"If they can't leave I will stay here!" Henry shouted angrily. "You can't just keep them here! That’s not fair!"
The angel seemed to be quite amused by this. "Really? What, you think you're actually safe with them? You wouldn't survive another day... Not with the Ink Demon roaming around..."
"I don't care! I won't leave them behind. It's either everybody or nobody!" Henry shouted, while crossing his arms.
"Henry, no. It's not worth it." Sammy put a hand on his shoulder, but the boy quickly pushed it away.
"But I don't want to leave you!" Henry cried. "It's just not fair! You deserve to be free! I won't just leave you here! You're my friends!"
WE WILL BE FINE, Jack scribbled on the floor. YOU NEED TO LEAVE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.
“Please Henry. We will be fine,” Sammy said in a calm voice. “You are more important. You are human. If anyone gets their hands on you, they will do horrible things to you. We can not risk that. Do it for us!”
Henry sighed. “...alright. But promise me you all will be fine!”
“I really can not promise that,” the music director replied while gently pushing the eight year old into the elevator. “But I can promise that we will not forget you.”
The doors closed and the elevator slowly started rising up. Henry exchanged a last, sad look with his friends. Jack waved him goodbye, Sammy had crossed his arms and was looking away, and Shawn was just staring at him. The Projectionist had already turned around, heading towards the door to the staircase. The next moment, a wall was blocking his sight.
With a sigh he turned around and looked at Boris. “I guess it’s only us now, huh?” Of course, the wolf didn’t respond.
"Have you ever wondered what heaven is like?” Susie asked all of the sudden. “I like to dream that it is quite beautiful. A soft valley of green grass, blanketed by a warm sun... I don’t think I’ll ever get to see it. Are you ready to ascend, my little errand boy? The heavens are waiting."
There was a moment of silence. Then she started to sob. Henry wished he could comfort her. She didn’t deserve this hell. Nobody did. It wasn’t her fault she had been turned into a twisted toon.
Suddenly, her sobbing turned into crazy laughter. It got louder and louder until she screamed, “Did you really think I'd let you steal from me?!” The walls were sending out sparks as the elevator suddenly fell down. Henry screamed in horror. “Did you really think I would just let you go?! No, stupid boy, you cannot leave! And you will not stop what needs to be done! Now come down and bring me back my Boris! It's the most perfect one I have ever seen and I want it! I need it!” He was crying. This was just way too much to handle... “I need it's insides so I can be beautiful again! Don't you understand?Don't you get it?! Give him to me!! Or better yet, I'll take him! Once... you're... dead!!“
Chapter 26: Voices
Henry opened his eyes. At first, everything was too blurry to recognize anything, but then he could finally make out a face right in front of him. A strange face that was definitely not a human one... it looked quite similar to a wolf, but yellow and with pie cut eyes... the wolf creature looked panicked. It was kneeing right in front of him, shaking him repeatedly. He wasn't completely sure, but he had an odd feeling he knew this wolf... just what was his name again?
"Bo... ris...?" the boy rasped. For some reason, it was incredibly hard for him to speak. A strange liquid was in his mouth. It tasted like metal, but he wasn't sure what it was.
There was also the pain in his right arm, his throat and at the back of his head. He couldn't really think because of it. How had he not fainted yet, he wondered. The boy just felt so tired... he just wanted to close his eyes for a while and sleep in peace... the pain would go away and he'd get to rest...
But Boris seemed so desperate to keep him awake. Henry couldn't just leave him. He needed to stay awake. He suppressed a cough and focused on not giving in to sleep. For Boris. For his friend. If just the others were here...
There was something slowly approaching through a dark hallway. Boris hadn't noticed it yet as he was too focused on keeping the eight year old awake. Henry narrowed his eyes until he could finally see a silhouette. It was a tall woman with dark hair wearing a black dress. She was coming closer and closer, but she didn't seem to be in a hurry. She was moving elegantly while having a satisfied, triumphant expression on her disfigured face.
That woman felt oddly familiar... Alice... Susie... evil Alice... he had been in her lair before... she had so many incredibly bad things... she was a toon murderer! She had killed so many Boris clones! No, he needed to warn Boris! She was evil, she would hurt him...! "Bo... ris... be... hind..."
Henry suddenly started coughing. And he just couldn't stop. His throat hurt even more than it already did. Then, he coughed up a red liquid. Was that... blood?
The eight year old just couldn't fight it anymore. He was just so tired. Henry finally closed his eyes and everything became dark. The last thing he heard was a faraway screech before he drifted off to what he thought was sleep.
The first thing he noticed was that the pain was finally gone. It was a relief to say the least. How long had he been asleep?
Every sound he heard was muffled. The boy could distantly hear voices, but only a few scraps of conversation, sometimes they were louder and sometimes they weren't.
"... irresponsible... cause more damage than good... rather dead... dangerous experiment...!" The first voice was male and it sounded like he was angry, but also panicking.
"You of all people...? You... hypocritical bastard!" The second voice was one of a hysterical woman. He didn't like the sound of her voice. It made him feel so... helpless.
"Did it work? Is the little fella gettin' better? He didn't die, did he?" The voice was easier for him to understand than the other two. It had a funny accent, but he could hear it clearly like it was whispering in his ear. The other voices were still arguing, but they started to fade into the background.
"Oh god, I hope the ink worked. Henry really doesn't deserve to die. He's just an innocent little kid who got trapped in here. He has absolutely nothing to do with this...," someone else muttered.
"Henry, wake up! Come on, buddy! Don't do this to us! Sammy will kill us if it doesn't work! You don't want him to be angry, do you?!" A third voice begged. Someone put their hands on his upper arms and started shaking him.
Henry groaned and slowly opened his eyes, blinking a few times to adjust to the bright light that was shining right on his face. Boris withdrew his hands from the boy's arms and stood up, smiling at him. Shawn and Jack were right next to him, looking down at the boy in worry.
It took a few seconds for Henry to realize the light that was dazzling him was from the Projectionist's head. "N-norman?" He asked quietly and sat up.
"Yeah, that's me, buddy. Glad to see you're better," Norman replied with a chuckle.
The boy gasped and stared at him in shock. "W-what...?" He must have hit his head really bad if he started hearing voices... He touched the back of his head, but could only feel that strands of his hair were sticking together and were also a bit wet. Had he been bleeding? The boy carefully felt for a wound, but there was nothing.
He noticed that his left sleeve was soaked in blood, but there was no injury either. This was just so confusing... If he hadn't been injured, where was all the blood from? His friends were made of ink. There was probably no space for blood with all the ink inside of them.
But then he remembered his fall at the pipe in front of the ink machine. His injury had disappeared so fast. Was that the environment or the ink doing this? One of these voices had hoped the ink worked. But could he truly rely on them?
"Good thing it worked. Hopefully, it doesn't have any weird side effects," someone said. It took a moment for him to recognize the voice. He had heard it before when he listened to the audio recordings. It was Jack's voice. But he knew for a fact that he couldn't speak. Neither him nor Shawn, Norman or even Boris. Was he going insane...? That was the only logical explanation he had.
"What's up with him? Is he alright? I sure hope he isn't havin' a panic attack..." Now he was hearing Wally and the janitor wasn't even with them in the first place. He really was hallucinating, wasn't he?
"You know, it's funny that you of all people tell others not to use ink to heal wounds. Wasn't that how you became what you are today?" Alice asked with a sneer. Henry turned around and looked at her, wondering why she was here. She and Sammy stood slightly away from them. The boy wasn't even sure if they had noticed he was awake.
A rope was tied around her waist and arms. It didn't make her any less dangerous. Her words could cut deep and Henry was sure she'd try to break free and kill all of them. Still, he wondered where they had gotten the rope from and how they had managed to even tie it around her.
"Susie, stop!" Sammy replied in an angry tone. "We have other things to worry about!"
"Wait, that's Susie? What the hell did Joey do to her? I'm going to murder him if I ever find him!" Shawn growled. "Ya can't do that to a lady!"
Henry winced but tried to ignore the voice as best as he could. Maybe it would disappear soon if he just ignored it? He didn't even know what was going on. Should he ask Sammy about it?
Alice's smile disappeared. She shook her head. "First of all, I don't care about this stupid little brat. If he dies, he dies. So what? He's nobody important. You can't tell me his life really matters in here. Also, I am not Susie, stupid. Not anymore. I am Alice Angel! You can plead for mercy, you can beg me to be who you want me to be... that won't happen. The person you are addressing has been gone for some time now. And she isn't... coming... back!"
"S-stop lying to me!" Sammy hissed and grabbed the rope around her waist, pulling her closer to him. Alice looked almost scared, but then she glared at him.
"Oh shit," Shawn muttered. "That escalated quickly..."
Alice's smile returned in a matter of seconds. "Oh, I'm not lying, dear. What would I get from that?" She chuckled and leaned forward until her face was five inches away from his. "The last part of Susie died when your little friend was in the elevator. Now it's only me~ No Susie anymore. Only Alice!"
"NO! That just can't be-"
A loud screech interrupted their argument. Sammy let go of the rope and the 'angle' stumbled forward, trying to keep her balance. She failed and fell face-first on the ground. Sammy stood there in shock for a moment before he helped her up again. Alice looked like she was about to murder someone.
"What do you want, you stupid beast?" Alice growled and glared at the Projectionist.
"She has a terrible attitude," Wally commented. "As expect from someone who tried to kill me." Henry was quite irritated by his last statement. She had tried to kill him...? Then again, trusting in voices he heard was definitely not a good idea.
Norman just pointed at Henry who smiled and shyly waved at them. "Hi, Sammy..." The musician stared at him for a second before he went and hugged him. The boy smiled, but when he looked at Alice his smile faded.
She looked rather disappointed. It was unsettling for him in a way he just couldn't describe. "So you're not dead yet? What a shame, really. It would've been so much fun to watch your friends suffer and lose the hope they had left." She browbeat him for a moment.
"W-why would I be... dead?" Henry asked quietly. These strange voices he heard had also been worried about him dying. He had been bleeding, so... had his injuries been that bad that he almost died from them?
"It's not important," Sammy replied and let go of the boy.
She snorted. "Not important? No wonder he constantly is in danger. You don't even tell him the tiniest bits of information. How do you expect him to stay alive if he knows nothing about what's going on?"
"I hate to admit it, but...she does have a point..." Jack muttered.
"Says the one who tried to kill us all," Sammy retorted and placed a hand on Henry's shoulder.
Alice laughed and took a step forward. Both Boris and Jack backed away from her while Shawn and Norman looked like they'd attack if she took another step in their direction. A bitter smile appeared on her face. "I'm tied up and you deem me a threat? You disgusting little freaks are such a bunch of cowards..." She rolled her eyes before she looked at Henry and chuckled. "I'm going to be honest with you, my little errand boy. The fall hurt you more than I thought it would. You have such a fragile little body." Alice sighed dramatically.
She paused for a moment. "Anyway, you almost died. Your injuries would have been deadly if your friends hadn't come at that exact moment, captured me and then had the funny idea-"
"Shut up, Alice!" Sammy growled.
"-ink as some sort of blood transfusion you'd be dead. Or healing potion, whatever suits you better," Alice said with a smile. "I wonder what the ink has done and will do to you. Attempting to heal yourself with ink... so incredibly dangerous... that's how Sammy was made, by the way. But also a few other people. It wasn't only Joey who experimented with the ink and what it could do..."
Henry turned around and stared up at Sammy in disbelief. That couldn't be true, right? Surely she must be lying. She had already lied to him and told him he could go home. Why should he trust a single word she said? Sammy would never do anything like this. He was an incredibly intelligent person, he'd know better than to do that. The musician had clenched his hands to fists, staring at her without saying a word.
"Is that true?" Jack asked quietly. "Did he really... do that? I just can't..."
"If... if what you said was true and... and I was heeled with ink," Henry stuttered. "Then... is that the reason why I keep hearing voices in my head?"
At that exact moment, everyone stared at him. Being in the focus made him feel uneasy, but he just desperately needed some answers.
"You what?!" Sammy shouted.
"Oh fuck. We gave him effin' schizophrenia," Shawn muttered.
"Oh. This is interesting," Alice commented. "Tell me more about it, please."