Home for the Holidays – Christmas (Part 1) [Interactive]

Then, everything fell apart. That was supposed to be the end of it–he would get all of his anger out, all of his rage. He’d send the men of his family to the fates they deserved, and then he would be free–he’d be able to go home to his boyfriend Magnus, and they’d be happy…but Magnus had taken one look at him, and nearly slammed the door in Mark’s face. It took Mark most of the day to get Magnus to open the door, but even then, Magnus wouldn’t allow him over the threshold of his apartment. He told Mark that he’d gone too far–that his revenge was rebounding, that the fates he had designed and forced on the men in his family were beyond proportion–for the universe to balance out…that meant that Mark was going to have to suffer too, and anyone who was near him was bound to catch a piece of it too.

Mark started to panic, and asked Magnus what he could do, and all he offered was two things–either he had to find the men and free them–and forgive them–in order to stop the blowback, or else he would have to live with the consequences of his actions, and accept whatever changes he would be forced to contend with. In any case, Magnus was adamant that Mark get as far away from him as possible–once the dust had settled, he would be willing to help sort out the mess, but until then, Mark was on his own.

For the first time in a long while, Mark went home to his own apartment, thankful he hadn’t moved into Magnus’ place entirely, and when he got there, he realized that the age he had accumulated back at his father’s home wasn’t the only change happening to him. He was fatter, for one thing, and seemed to have aged even further, into his late 40’s or early 50’s. It was…a mess, and Mark didn’t know what to do, and there was no one he could turn to. If he wanted to fix this…he was going to have to do something about the curses he’d laid on his family.

His father and uncle, he assumed, were out in the country somewhere. His brother’s would be easier to find…but he didn’t know where John, his oldest brother, or Issac, his cousin, lived. The only brother he could find easily–and who could help him find the others–was Luke, who had gone to live with Buzz, and when Mark thought of that, he realized that even if Magnus didn’t want to help him, he might be able to get some help from Buzz, who also dabbled in various magic, especially the darker stuff that Magnus shunned. Still, Buzz was…well, a little unhinged. Mark had hoped he wouldn’t have to see him again, but it seemed that he didn’t have a choice.

It was late, and it could wait, he hoped. He got something to eat and went to bed, waking up and finding that his changes hadn’t gotten any worse…but that his apartment seemed…off. Reality, it seemed, was trying to catch up with him, and the apartment he was in was an apartment lived in my his new middle aged, slobby self, not his younger past. He needed to fix this quickly, if he was going to have any hope of resolving this mess. He got in his car and drove to Buzz’s place, and the old warlock answered the door, confused at first, but after sniffing the air, the man realized who it was he was looking at, and he grinned.

Buzz was old–just how old wasn’t easy to determine, because magic can do…strange things to a person’s time. Older than Mark–even the new Mark–and probably even older than Marcus. He worked as a trash collector, and spent his free time…well, what he did wasn’t particularly savory, or likely legal, but Mark had needed ingredients, and Buzz had come through. The older fellow grinned at Mark, gave his hairy gut a scratch, and said, “If you’re checking that the deal we made is finished, it is–he got here right on time, and gotta say, he’s a…sweet one,” Buzz licked his lips, and looked back into his grimy house, before turning back to Mark, “Looks like ya got a little blowback going on–you gonna be able to handle that?”

“Actually…I was wondering if you could…help me out.”

Buzz looked like he was considering more than just the question for a moment, “I ain’t givin’ him back, a deal’s a deal.”

“I–look, I just need to stop this, alright?”

“Ya cursed more ‘n just him–go fix them others, if you want, but fixin’ them won’t fix all of this, you know. Good fuckin’ witches ‘n warlocks talk about forgiveness and release, but it’s all bullshit. No–I know how to get rid of that blowback–it’s always worked for me, and trust me, I’ve had plenty of experience with that shit. Come on in man, we’ll fix you up.”

Mark was…hesitant, but didn’t exactly have a better option. He followed Buzz into the filthy house, trying not to let the stench upset his stomach, and thankful his brother wasn’t anywhere he could see him…but also a bit worried about him, all the same.

“See–blowback isn’t the world fixing itself–blowback is you. Curses hang around, they feed on your feelings, on your guilt, your anger, your shame. Without anyone else to focus on, all that shit turns on you instead, warping you–what you need to do, buddy, is to give it another target. Push all that shit out, and give it to someone who you know deserves it–and it just so happens I know a someone you could give all that to, if you want. I’ll even help ya get it all sorted.That said, if you’d rather try and forgive…that does work, but it ain’t easy. Curses don’t take well to being dispelled, and you’re liable to just make things worse, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Mark didn’t quite know what to do. Buzz didn’t exactly seem like the most trustworthy fellow, but he was the only lead he had right now. Then again, maybe Magnus was right–if he freed his brother from this, maybe some of his own changes would reverse. Besides, now that he was seeing what Buzz was…he wasn’t so sure his brother deserved this fate after all. In any case, he was going to have to make a decision, here and now–if he was going to follow Buzz’s advice, or follow Magnus.

This next chunk is going to be more…narrative focused, to some extent, but I’m giving you all the chance to shape the narrative in rather large ways! This is a big decision for Mark, that will shape a lot of the story to come, so choose wisely!

  1. Mark decides to try and forgive and dispel the curses, whatever the risk might be. Buzz won’t let him free his brother of course He gets the addresses of his big brother and cousin from his younger brother, and decides to try with them.
  2. Mark decides to cooperate with Buzz…though he doesn’t exactly trust him, and Buzz never offers help for free. It might be a deal with the devil, but if it gets rid of his problems, why not trust him?

Here’s the public poll

Here’s the patron only poll

Votes will be counted in a couple of days!

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