I grinned, the mischievous smile I reserved for special occasions spilling across my features, and added one last touch.There... utterly perfect. A three teired chocolate and strawberry cake with Hellboy's face in colorful-mostly pink and purple- icing on top, grinning like a maniac with Christmas ornaments in his hair and presents at his neckline. He was definitely going to love his Christmas cake, I just knew it.
The ground underneath me shook with thunder, and I glanced up, realizing for the first time that it was storming outside. I blinked, wondering where the sun had gone while I was working, and shrugged, carefully hiding the cake so I could go search for Hellboy. I dashed through the hallways, looking up and down and hearing many half cries of "Slow down, Ka-" before I turned another corner or dashed into another room and their cries were cut short. After several minutes and much quizzical eyeing of the seemingly vacant Elysium Asylum, I collapsed, gasping for breath, onto a stray couch.
I began thinking while I was taking a break from my sprinting searches for Hellboy, and wished again that I could ship a cake a million miles away to Octaboona in England, but some other residants of Elysium Asylum had strongly discouraged me in the matter, muttering about crushed cake and something about huge quantities of purple food coloring being ilegal, and moaning about the difficulties of last year's legal hassles under other some-such similar circumstances.
I, of course, had mostly stopped listening, my mind swooped away into all my glorious plans for Christmas with purple and red and green colors swirling through my head. But now, as I lay on the couch, catching my breath, I peered up at the clock over the nearby fireplace and wondered why it was again that I shouldn't ship a cake to Octa. I blinked and read the clock. It was 2:42 in the morning. "Gah!" I sat up, thinking the clock must surely be wrong. I stood and caroused into the next few rooms, finding the clocks and comparig the times until I realized it really was that late despite my doubt. Returning to the first room, I apologized to Mr. Clock for not believing him in the first place, and stood, head tilted to one side, thinking.
But 2:42 in the morning! Where would Hellboy be at a time like this? Now that it was the next day anyway... I didn't see any reason not to give my cake to him now! Then we could eat cake and party and eat cake... I admit, my eyes sparkled a bit just then. Well, it was the thought of chomping into Hellboy's Christmas bedazzled face, really. It would be a new experience, and when it comes to cake, I'm always up for a new experiences. I just needed to find Hellboy, and in order to achieve that, I needed to find out where he was.
I knew someone would be awake in the kitchen so I plodded somewhat disconsolately into there and asked the gentleman there where Hellboy was. After I got a momentary blank stare, I reluctantly muttered "Israel" since not everyone seemed to know of his nickname. Finally I got answers! Hellboy was at the Blue Moose, apparently. I grinned and spun to leave, but changed my mind mid-stride and whipped to the man again, asking where to find a blue moose, as I'd never seen one in person before. Strangely, I got another blank stare before the fellow told me to go out the front door, turn right, go two blocks, turn right again, and I would find what I was looking for about three and a half blocks down. I thanked him, bestowing him with one of my few remaining orange-berry-pickle cupcakes, to which he was so happy he was at a loss for words, and raced to grab my jacket, the especially brilliant one with the purple tails, since I was going to meet a blue moose for the first time in my life, and wanted to look snappy.
Glancing around my room, I stabbed my Japanese hairpicks into my black curls and left. Reaching the front door, I heaved it open, my hair whipping about with the wind, grinned at the storm I was about to plunge into, and disappeared into the night.
I was wearing my lucky jacket when it happened, and with the screaming air in my ears, I surprisingly didn't see my life flash before my eyes, and instead, thought that I would have to get a new "lucky" jacket.
It was a horrible night, the kind you hear ghost stories and horror stories developing with wind and rain and the loudest thunder you've ever heard. I'd had a few drinks, and I wasn't intending on leaving the Blue Moose that night until I had to. Solemn as I was, I was still dry and warm in my reverie, and I wasn't expecting anything to happen which is of course how it took me by surprise.
"Alonso!" I called from behind the bar, "Pour me another glass." Alonso, the sharp kind of bartender that, despite his size, you could just tell packed a punch if the need arose, finished drying the glass in his hand and slid a beer down the bar. I caught it before it fell off, the golden liquid sloshing once or twice before I took a gulp of the rancid stuff and slammed it back down. I was hunched over it drinking sulkily, as is the best way to drink alcohol, with the stubble on my chin brushing the side of the glass with a soft shh shh every time I lifted and lowered my chin idly between gulps.
It was late, although I wasn't sure of the time, and quiet except for a few stragglers muttering and occasionally laughing unwelcomely. I looked to my left where a boy with blue hair was showing off cheap magic tricks to his mortal girlfriend. Behind him was a limp little Christmas tree in the failed attempt of appearing festive. I grunted and turned back, listening to the low music in the background and finishing off the beer. I don't know why, but the song playing just then sticks out in my memory- "Ghost Riders in the Sky" by Johnny Cash.
"Alonso," I growled shaking my empty mug in the air, this having meaning enough. He looked at me, I remember, leaning on the counter at arm's-length.
"I'm cutting you off, tonight Hellboy,"- this being a nickname I'd acquired recently after a nasty battle with an an ugly old ogre whose brains I'd blown out.
I growled at the bartender, biting off my rude reply to look into the future and determine the best way to get what I wanted. Two minutes later, Alonso was grumpily polishing a different glass, and I had a another pint in my fist. Something resembling a grimace-meant-to-be-smile etched my face until I slapped the money I owed onto the bar and glared out the grimy door at the lightening streaking by.
My phone rang. Suddenly, the Mission Impossible theme song was clamoring for notice, and I fumbled in my jackets until I found the thing hidden in a pocket I didn't realize I had. My thumb jammed a random button, and when that didn't silence it, I attacked the little red "hang-up" sign until you could only here insistent beeping and thrust it back into a pocket, swaying slightly and stumbling forward, slightly off-balance. I didn't look back at, what I'm sure, were awed-why-didn't-I-think-of-that-as-my-ringtone expressions. Of course, then the persistent caller rang again, and I glared at the time on my phone- 2:42 A.M.- and answered it this time with a gruff greeting that was probably something like, "Who's calling me at this time of night! Don't you know I'm a serious busi-ness man who's, as the title indicates, busy!?"
A mellow voice I'd never heard before replied unfalteringly, "Israel Elysium I presume?"
"No! I'm his secretary! Who do you think it is?"
"Meet me at the park around the block in five minutes."
"Have you even looked out the window, you idiot? I'm not mee-" but the line was already dead, and I cursed, muting my phone and stuffing it back into one of my pockets. I flipped the collar on the topmost coat out, putting my hand on the door, intending to shove my way through and walk the short distance through the rain back to Elysium Asylum, but I stopped, my hunched shoulders sagging a bit more and gave up. I already knew I couldn't resist the curiosity of a nameless summons in the middle of the night, even if said summoner happened to be an axe murderer/stalker who somehow knew I wouldn't be able to resist. I grunted and pushed the door open, delving into the storm.