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Tales from the Hinterlands


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The affairs of people in the Capitalist Confederacy. Will probably have some violence at some point.

 

Auld Lang Syne

31st December, 2021

”I’m still saying it’s haunted.” Officer Dunwell’s voice broke the relative silence, prompting a groan from Officer Jones. “Jesus Christ, Eddie. It isn’t haunted.” The two officers were standing in front of the old Eastside Hotel, once a prestigious building with several hundred room and luxury suites. 110 years and one notorious serial killer later, it had gained a reputation that would have made its bourgeoisie founder reach mach speed in his grave. “Alright, then what about the lights flickering? And that time I got stuck in the elevator after I went for a leak.” Jones flicked her cigarette butt into the light dusting of snow on the street and stomped her feet on the floor, trying to get warm. “This place is older than your hairstyle, shit breaks. Besides, if it was haunted they wouldn’t have stuck the Anglian Embassy here, would they?”

That may have been a moot point. It had been log theorised that when the Confederate Parliament reluctantly opened the Embassy in 1979, they deliberately chose this building out of spite, for grievances well over 200 years old. A dilapidated hotel, famous for being the lair of a serial killer, in the middle of The Dam, the biggest shithole on New Godstone Island. Named by Dolch speaking migrants for Die Gotterdamerung, since crime and living conditions were so bad in the early days, it was like the end of the wurld made real. The Dam got better over time, but the opinion of Anglia didn’t. Especially now. That’s why Jones and Dunwell were there, smoking cigarettes and reluctantly guarding the embassy. “His Royal Highness King Asshole is gonna pull something tomorrow in his speech.” The words of the precinct chief echoed through Jones’ head. “You two are on guard duty, keep the drunks away and if it gets hairy, call it in.” This reminisce had been prompted by the sudden, unwanted appearance of several drunken revellers, making a beeline for the Embassy. In their hands were bottles of spirits, cigarettes, and in the hands of one man wearing a garish tie, several large fireworks.

Edited by Hinterlands (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

Intruder

Silence is a rare commodity in Edgewood. From the roar of engines in downtown to the erratic staccato of gunfire in the suburbs, noise is a constant companion. One has to travel to the outskirts of town to find silence. The former headquarters of the Edgewood Steel Company is one such refuge. The building was completed in 1919, and was said to be the most beautiful building in Edgewood, perhaps all of Hinteria. Cashari revival pillars framed ornate walls, and high windows illuminated the luxurious interior. In it’s current state it resembles the ruins of old Cashar it was imitating. The complex now served as a headquarters for a new agenda.

 

The man sat alone, cross legged on the floor, in a dingy office. Spread before him were his trophies. All of them held significance and power. The man lifted a tattered looking necktie with the reverence of a monk handling a sacred artefact, then carefully lowered it into a lockbox, nestling it amongst driver’s licenses, car keys and scraps of miscellaneous cloth. He slowly closed the lid, and was about to lock the box when the harsh sound of excited speech penetrated the still, dusty air. Fear ran up the man’s spine, followed quickly by a burning sensation of anger deep in his gut. Who dared to enter his sanctuary? The man slowly unsheathed his buck knife, and crept from the office.

Tracking down the stranger was no hard task for the man. He knew this building like the back of his hand after all. The speech became louder as he crept past desks and filing cabinets. It was a harsh, unfamiliar dialect, something he could have sworn he’d heard before. Rounding a corner and sliding beneath a desk, he laid eyes on the trespasser. It was a young man, wearing a ridiculous looking bulletproof vest plastered with garish stickers, with a boonie hat cocked at a jaunty angle on his head. The man looked and listened, creeping around the office as he prepared to strike. The hatted man was talking into a camera, switching between pointing it at himself and the building. A Rhodellian flag sticker took up the entirety of the back of the vest. Typical, the man thought. Must have ran out of people’s territory to break into back home. The Rhodellian sat at a desk, and began impersonating a Hinterian with a terrible accent and broken Anglish. The man began slinking across the dusty shag carpet. He could see the footage the camera was capturing in the little screen on the side, noting the Rhodellian hadn’t yet noticed him emerging from the shadows. Just as he raised his knife, he spotted the Rhodellian’s eyes widen as he finally took note of the footage.

The Dolcher frantically rose from the desk, reaching for his holster, but the man was too close. He slammed himself into the younger man, shoving him against the desk and knocking him to the floor. The knife wielder tried to pin him down, but the kraut kicked at him with his boots, knocking him back, buying enough time to reach for his gun. Unluckily for him, his calculations were poor. The man lunged at the kraut, driving the knife into his chest with two fierce thrusts, then for added measure, stabbing him through the throat. Crimson stains spread across the vest, and the young man clutched at his throat, gurgling and staring at the knife wielder with bulging eyes.

The man took a seat on an office chair, breathing heavy. Wiping blood from his nose, he stared down at the Rhodellian. “You’ve caused me a lot of hassle, you know.” The Rhodellian stared back, unable to speak. He was getting paler. “I’m going to have to move out now.” The man stood, kicking away the pistol from the kraut’s side. He didn’t know much about Rhodellians. Only what he’d seen on the TV. The man pondered for a moment, before a memory wormed it’s way to the forefront of his mind. There was one thing he definitely remembered from TV, he thought, a wry grin spreading across his face. Pulling the boonie hat off and tossing it away, the man gripped a handful of hair on the Rhodellian’s head and readied his knife.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

September 5th, 1952

A cool Autumn breeze crept its way through the pine trees, emanating a comforting rustling sound. It was a pleasant, warm Friday night. The noise of Edgewood's downtown could barely be heard, a slight murmur of activity and noise. Here in the suburbs, winding up the hillside, it was silent save for the chirps and scurrying of nocturnal animals, and the quiet burble of a V8 engine. Ensconced within the sedan, Eddie Frink sat quietly, tapping his gloved fingers against the steering wheel to the rhythm of a doo-wop song quietly playing on the radio, occasionally glancing at the dashboard clock and the split level ranch house situated down the hill, a spattering of pines slightly blocking the view. Slowly but surely the clock inched towards 11:30, the time at which Eddie would act.

 

Eddie flicked his cigarette onto the floor, leaning his arm out of the window and breathing in the air. The smell  was a familiar one, just like when he used to go hunting in the woods with his father. The two had never been close, but Edward Senior insisted on the regular trips, always bragging about how once he and his father brought down a bull deer. Of course, Eddie never managed to bag anything bigger than a fox, but it was where he learnt skills that would later be essential in his line of work. The tools had changed, but the attitude needed was always the same, no matter what was being hunted. Eddie was jerked out of his pondering by the sound of a light click, indicating that the time had come. Switching off the engine, Eddie exited the car and made his way across the service road, hopped the crash barrier, and crept his way gingerly down the slope, quietly pushing aside the undergrowth and pine branches.

 

After a few brief moments, the suited man reached the fence. Effortlessly scaling the barrier, Eddie crept his way slowly to the porch door, all the while checking the darkened windows of the house ahead of him and the carbon copies that flanked it on either side. Upon reaching his target, Ed checked the door. Unlocked, as he suspected. Edgewood was a nice place to live, after all. Slipping off his mud coated brogues and leaving them on the grass, Ed entered the dimly lit room. He was in a small sitting area, with a large arch leading to the TV room and a door to the left. Creeping to the arch, he peered around the corner and scoped out the room. Sat in a recliner chair, was Professor Michael Harper. A gifted engineer and vocal critic of various industries, but evidently, an enthusiastic drunkard. A bottle of Albach whisky lay drained by the chair, just out of reach of the man slumped back on the chair, in front of a colour TV playing some inane sitcom. Creeping back to the left door, Ed opened the door and slid inside.

 

This was the office of the professor. A desk strewn with papers sat in one corner, various car blueprints and car crash photos pinned to the wall. Behind it sat a stout safe. Ed slinked over and began his work. Despite its formidable appearance, the safe was surprisingly easy to crack. The cylinders were so loud the stethoscope Ed carried in his pocket wasn't even needed. Sat within the box was a small revolver, and a thick bundle of papers. 'Unsafe at Any Speed: A Critique on the Hinterian Car' was written across the front in scribbled handwriting, with 'FINAL DRAFT' stamped below. If the information his client gave him was correct, this was to be posted by ConEx Premium delivery tomorrow morning to the publishing house. Not anymore. With the papers secured firmly within Ed's suit jacket, the first part of his contract was completed. Now for the second.  Picking up the revolver, Ed made his way to the TV room. The man had not moved an inch. Pulling up an eyelid with his thumb revealed a bloodshot green eye staring blankly up at the ceiling. The man had passed out drunk. Ed contemplated what to do next, considering his options. Shooting him in the face would be too obvious. Ed sucked air through his teeth and tapped his finger against the cool metal trigger. He was so engrossed in his plot, he barely noticed the door at the side of the room click open. 

 

Stood in the doorway was a woman, apparently Michael's wife. Ed felt the rare sensation of panic coil its icy fingers around his heart. She wasn't supposed to be here! "Mike, would you turn the TV down, it's quarter to-" the woman's sleepy drawl was cut off by a small squeak as she locked eyes with Ed. the two were frozen in time, and although it couldn't have been more than a second, maybe two, it felt an eternity. Ed rose his arm with barely a thought and pulled the trigger. She fell instantly like a puppet with its strings cut, lying in an awkward heap in the doorway. Ed had to act fast. Clicking his tongue, Ed knelt by the sleeping man and placed the revolver in his hand, ensuring to get his prints on the cylinder, hammer and trigger. Rising carefully, Ed walked briskly back to the rear door, slid his shoes on, and again scaled the fence. As he crept back up the hill he could see silhouettes in the neighbouring houses and knocking on the front door of the one he just left. Tossing the papers on the passenger seat where they fell open onto a diagram, Ed fired up the car and lit a cigarette, looking for a moment at the card given to him by the contact to call. It was blank, barring a phone number and two large letter M's watermarked onto it. Just as Ed was about to pull away, he took a peek at the book. Drawn in graphic detail was a cross section of the very car he was driving, showing the driver impaled by the steering column. 'No seat belt' was written above it in bright red. Ed paused for a brief moment, buckled up, and sped off into the pleasant Friday night, the only trace of him being there being a cigarette butt and the caustic scent of burning rubber.

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