He wasn't a glutton—that was for sure, because Julius only liked a drink now and then… maybe one in the morning, but—he sipped his eighth glass of vodka, shipped in from the surface, and decided that he was well on the way to being drunk: he didn't really mind, and the bar tender certainly seemed very happy about that. The Ex-Commander of the LEPrecon was quite a famous face—
In the red light district, that is. And more specifically, in the bottom of a glass—but nobody really cared, they just brushed it off because it was normal and—'another one?' the bar tender asked, and it was nearing midnight and Julius nodded his head.
'Thanks,' and he almost spilt it on himself—but didn't, and it burned as it went down.
He looked up from the bottom of the glass: 'Where'd everyone go?' almost slurred—almost, but not quite—and the bar tender blinked and tried to stay awake, and told himself that it was stupid to advertise that they weren't closing until late because Julius showed up and when Julius showed up…
'What?' the man blinked.
'I said,' Julius leaned back in his chair, 'where'd everyone go?'
'Left,' the bar men said—he yawned.
'Look,' he said, a little later—when the clock hand had passed a lot more than half an hour—'are you ever going to stop ordering drinks? I'm sure you can pay for it, but us other people, we need to sleep too—'
Julius blinked. 'Oh,'
When he walked out the door: the glass teetered and when it fell to the ground it smashed. Tinkle tinkle, but then smash. And the door slammed shut behind him and the icy wind almost made him sneeze—when he woke up in the morning, he managed to not concentrate on the pounding headache, sighed, and tried to go back to sleep.
'You can't deny it,' he tells the white wall: white wall white wall, nothing but white up, down, left and right, front and back and all there is is white. He's wearing white, but his hair is black—his skin is white, but his hair is black and that's all there is to it: he smirks at the wall, 'you can't deny it,' he says again, 'because I know the answer to everything. I am brilliant. I am a genius—'
'How long as he been like this?' Angelina asked: the doctor shook his head.
'A while. We don't know. Somebody signed him in—we don't know who—and he started raving… we thought it was best to keep him sedated, he was being a danger to himself. He is twenty-two, after all…'
Angelina sighed. 'We knew it would come to this…'
'You can't deny it,' he says again, 'and I know you're listening Foaly. I'm cleverer than you are, and you can't deny it…'
The air crackles just a little bit—just a little bit, not anything much, just a little bit—and then it's gone, and Artemis throws his head back against the wall and his hair's grown out to be really long and later, when he lies on the floor, it splays around the whiteness of his face and clothes and the walls and the ceiling and the floor—and it's black, so totally black; he laughs, sometimes, and the other times he just stares.
The air crackles again: 'Time for your medication sir,' the male nurse says—and Artemis doesn't really wince so much as clench his eyes tightly when the needle pokes into his upper arm. And later, when he's asleep, Angelina stands at the one-way window and looks out and then sighs.
'Artemis, what are we going to do with you?'
'Holly! Holly!' the fans screamed—'can I have your autograph?'
She grinned and signed the napkins—and the papers, and the books and the photographs and watched her fans skim the edges of the ropes and try to get past and touch her, but the guards held them off: and her dress sparkled, red, and even though she was short she was wearing high heels, and she towered above mostly everyone. High heels were exactly what they were.
'Ms. Short,' the manager—with a flushed face, happy, excited, blah— said—'they're waiting for you, inside.'
'Thanks,' she waved to her fans and walked into the building through the glass doors.
When she tries to watch the podium, her eyes blur and everything just spins for a minute and she's lopsided and lying on the ground—but when she clenches her eyes tight and opens them again, everything's normal—she's tired and should be in bed but she can't, she just can't and she waves and sips her Martini and Vinyáyá from the council comes up to talk with her with a smile on her face.
'I'm a celebrity,' she mutters to herself in the bathroom—reapplying her lipstick—'and nothing can stop me.'
She smiles at her reflection and walks away, and the door swings shut behind her and makes a slam—and in the other cubicle a girl giggles because Holly Short redid her makeup in the same bathroom as her, and she rushes away to tell all of her friends because she's so happy and excited: Holly smiled as she sat back down, and the man held her chair out for her.
'Thanks,' she flashed him a smiled: and he told all of his work mates and they all had a bit of a laugh over it, but they were secretly envious.
She wasn't greedy: definitely not greedy. There was nothing greedy about Juliet, because she didn't want anything: her apartment was perfect—white walls, white walls, with a black floor and just a little, a little, silver here and there and the fish tank with tropical waters—and she was perfect and in the little bag under her bed she kept all her knives and guns and ropes and slings and bullets and weapons—
and she didn't really care.
Good job, good car, lots of money: successful writer, not too successful but just successful enough. She was different but definitely didn't stand out in the crowd; the knife sliced the mans throat cleanly, and the jugular gushed the blood down his naked chest to pool on his stomach: he stared up at her, not really seeing and when he looked down he was almost dead.
When he hit the ground he was.
The blood stains on her white shirt dried quickly enough—and they wouldn't find the body and even if they didn't they wouldn't find her, because they didn't want to find her and the next slit throat and the next slit throat: and sooner or later everyone wanted her to do their 'odd' jobs as it were and she smiled and thought that that was great. But then she sat down in front of her television and watched her book hit the top of the bestseller list—
'Hello?' she answered the phone.
'Ms. Butler?' the voice was muffled—'I've got a job for you.'
She's about to hang up—'Ok,' she said, 'if you've found this number, you obviously know the rules.'
Voice nods but suddenly realises she can't see: 'Yes.'
'Good. Ring me back when it's dark.'
She hung up and went back to the television, and voice tapped his fingers on his desk and then decided that it'd be worth it: voice climbed out of the chair and walked through to make dinner for her husband, and hoped that he'd get home from screwing his secretary soon.
Butler didn't want it. He definitely didn't want it: he didn't want anything better than to float around in his lovely little coma and watch the world and all the people in it and get angry and lust over the flesh: lust was a boring thing when there was no way to fulfil it, and there's nothing but floating above his little coma and watch the world. He knows he shouldn't lust, he should hate it.
But he's not sure he knows how to hate it, he's never been one for such negative emotions: not even the positive emotions, he's just one who is, and doesn't feel very often. Adrenaline was his life, and then he just lost it—like that, poof—a little magic powder, as it were. He sighed: floating wasn't good. Artemis was brilliant, always brilliant—Butler hated him for that, and loved it too.
Brilliant. Always brilliant. 'Brilliant,' he repeats aloud—but only he can hear it and his body just mumbles it and no-one hears it. It tossed Artemis off the brink of insanity and well into the furthest reaches of human depravity, and depravity bringing the screaming and the laughing and the running around naked in the rain—but Butler only watched from afar. Sometimes, not all the times.
He can hear/could hear. But not any more. No, never any more. Because Artemis is gone, very gone: far away.
It's cold. 'Cold,' he repeats; 'cold' his body whispers.
And he tries to roll over but his leg only moves just a little, and his head the fraction of a millimetre. And he lets out an exhalation of breath—so many big words for sigh—that isn't really a sigh and isn't really breath, because he's just a memory of what he used to be.
Sometimes, he forgets.
Briar knew it was wrong to be envious. Envious of the living and envious of the dead but he couldn't really help it: being a ghost was underrated, floating around in limbo and hovering around fortune tellers and talking with the other ghosts. Not reaching Mog Mell or any of the afterlives, and so he just hovered around and thought that it was evil and envied the living—he didn't really care much for them.
He didn't really care much for anything of the living—he envied them of course, but he didn't care: except for Julius; old friends and all that, he reasoned with himself. Old friend who drank alcohol and thought he saw things that he didn't see but really—Briar sat there on the bench, trying to float and not sink into the wood: it felt stranger than it looked, if anyone could have seen him there.
—'I find it hard to think that Briar's gone,' Julius tells his mother and she pats him on the shoulder, and secretly she knows why—and why his eyes are read and blinking and where the alcohol was hidden last time she checked: because now it's gone, and the bin outside is full
And Briar sits on the chair next to Julius, but Julius doesn't even know that he's there: and he knows where Julius keeps all of his liquor and alcohol, and how sometimes, he hides a little elsewhere and 'accidentally' lets his mother find it, and Briar is standing behind him and laughing and laughing and laughing and—
'Julius?' Briar asks: Julius is drunk, Briar wishes he was.
Julius smiles. 'Hello Briar,' he says—slurred speech but he's alive, just a little bit.
And there's hope and Briar moves forward, but Julius isn't watching him—just the wall behind him, and Briar sighs when he realises that Julius is really asleep.
Foaly turned away from the monitor, away from everything. Away from the greed and the lust and the desire, the gluttony and the anger, and the power and the corruption and away from the world at large—away from ex-commander Julius and the superstar Holly, because they made him grind his teeth: Julius had given up everything and Briar was dead so deal with it, he thought.
And Holly, little Miss Holly…
He sighed and tapped on the keyboard. Tap tap, typed up his documents and his thesis and he's got yet another doctorate in mechanical engineering on the way through, but he doesn't really care fro that any more: Artemis Fowl the Second and the Insane, and Butler, the not quite dead Butler…
He laughed. It was brilliant and stupid and so totally annoying. Everything annoyed him—the memory of Opal Koboi when he looked around at his technologies lining the walls, but when he turned to the walls and looked through the windows of his building he just got angry: anger was the curse, his mother had said. But he didn't really care about anyone any more. Anger. Anger.
He tapped the keyboard and the camera tilted—camera looked down on Juliet, and she was almost insane as her previous employer had been. Watched her slit another man's throat with a silver knife and then everything just fading away to red—his cameras were everywhere, and as he watched he was angered. Angered by the world and everything in the world.
And so he turned his camera off and went home in his little flying mobile, and cursed having four legs and centaur history because being a centaur wasn't really everything it was put out to be—and the laughing and the ridicule and the jokes, but then he was indispensable. Everyone else wasn't.
'Just look at them.' He muttered with a laugh. 'All gone,' </i>'all gone'</i> repeated with a laugh.
But then the smile went to a frown. He gritted his teeth and swore: 'Fuck,' he said. 'It—'
made him angry.