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No one Escapes...Redemption?

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It had happened. After what felt like an eternity, it had finally happened. The Entity had been starved into extinction—or at least dormancy. Evan didn’t know who pulled it off, or how. He wagered that that slippery son of a bitch Vigo may have had something to do with it. Not that it mattered. Not that anything mattered anymore…the Fog was dissipating. The Entity’s realms were collapsing, its monsters and survivors being cast into a maelstrom of dimensions as the Entity tried in vain to save itself by trying to flee its own realm. Evan sat down and smiled. No more trials. No more hunting. No more punishments for displeasing a cruel god. As the Fog finally vanished, Evan Macmillan embraced the approaching oblivion. He felt like he was tumbling down an abyss. He did not scream, for this was what he had been craving for so long: an escape. At long last, this nightmare was finally over for the Trapper.

He was understandably startled, and more than a little bit frustrated, when he suddenly felt his body slam against hard ground. He grunted in pain and stood up. It took him less than two seconds to come to two very startling observations: he was alive…and this wasn’t the Fog. He looked around in open mouthed shock as a whirlwind of activity surrounded him. Strange, horned, sometimes animal-like creatures moved about a street around him. A few gave him glances, but most were just apathetic of his presence. He checked himself…he still had his cleaver, his mask, and his bag of beartraps. He reached up to touch his shoulders and grunted in pain. The hooks and spikes were still lodged in him from the first—and only—time he dared to disobey the Entity. He knew for a fact this wasn’t one of Its realms when he looked up at the “sky”. A massive pentagram stretched across the backdrop of a scarlet sky. The Entity didn’t do scarlet. The skies it made were either black as pitch, or a suffocating overcast. He suddenly felt himself be shoved. He whirled around and saw a burly, crimson skinned creature growl at him.
“You lost, buddy? Looks like you’re freshly fallen. Tough luck. I like your mask. I think I’ll take it.” The creature reached for the Trapper’s mask…and immediately let out a cry of pain as the offending hand was severed from his arm. Evan didn’t give him the chance to flee, however. Force of habit demanded he finish the job. He punched the grotesque thing in its jaw, sending it sprawling on the pavement. What happened next was something he had spent decades doing on the Entity’s hapless victims: a Memento Mori. Five strokes of his cleaver to the creature’s back silenced it, and he was almost disappointed to not hear the Entity cooing praise into his mind for such a brutal kill. He immediately stood upright, squaring his shoulders and looking around. The pedestrians had stopped to watch the butchery, and a few had even taken out small, thin rectangular devices and watching him through them. None made a move to challenge him, and soon they went back to their own affairs, leaving him standing over the corpse of his victim. Evan knelt and pilfered the corpse for whatever might be of use to him. He found multiple wallets, and promptly emptied them of cash, dumping it into his stitched bag with his traps. He started walking, his long legs and powerful stride making him quick and deadly in trials, but needlessly hasty in his current situation. He forced himself to slow down, reminding himself that he was not in a Trial, and he had no destination in mind anyway. Evan scanned the buildings…and quickly felt his gut sink. He had assumed he was in a new dimension, but he had hoped it wouldn’t be worse than the Fog. But upon a massive billboard read the sign “WELCOME TO HELL!”. He kept walking.

“For Hell, this place is quite tame…at least compared to the Fog.” He mused, but he didn’t dwell on it too much. Best not to look a gift horse in the mouth. As he continued down the streets, he noted that the technology of this dimension seemed to be beyond that of his own time. He knew that time passed outside the Entity’s realm…this was evident by the clothes of the survivors, and of what he heard from other, newer killers. He figured that Hell then must also be changing with the times to reflect the mortal world. He felt envious of these sinners for that…the Fog was stagnant. The only changes were when the Entity added new killers, victims, or locations, and even these got old quickly. But here…he could do whatever he wanted. He could go places he had never been, experience new sensations that weren’t agony or bloodlust or rage. It thrilled and terrified him. He grinned behind his mask, knowing that even Hell couldn’t be worse than the Fog. Still, there were a few problems that he had to address. He was lost, jobless—though not broke, as his recent murder had given him some cash—and homeless. It seemed that whatever god of this realm was far kinder than the Entity, for no sooner had he thought of his lack of lodging than he noticed an advert pasted onto the side of a building. “Realize Redemption! Come to the Happy Hotel and find rehabilitation! Room and board provided free of charge to those in the program.” Evan cocked an eyebrow at the rather colorful design. Rainbows and puppies…really? Still, it had an address listed, and Evan was grateful that the street signs were in English and not some strange infernal language. Cleaver in hand, stitched bag on his back, and the advert clutched in his other hand, the Trapper stalked off towards the Happy Hotel.

 

The Hotel had been running for about a week, and so far there hadn’t been a single new tenant. Charlie Magne, heiress of Hell and proprietor of the Hazbin—formerly “Happy”—Hotel, sat in the lobby, hoping in vain that some lost soul would step through the doors and give her project a chance. Husk sat at the reception desk, bottle of cheap booze in hand as he did his best to tune out Angel’s flirting. Vaggie sat on the couch next to her, reading. Alastor was in the kitchen, and Nifty was cleaning the halls of the hotel for the third time that day. Charlie felt like shit. Yes, she maintained the façade of unsinkable pep and cheerfulness in front of the others—especially in front of Vaggie—but she was starting to lose hope. So far the hotel’s reputation was absolutely abysmal. Katie Killjoy mocked her daily on her news program, and she had yet to hear from either of her parents. She could tell that Alastor was getting bored, which made her unsettled. She suspected that if things didn’t get interesting around here soon, he'd resort to making his own entertainment…the kind that made him one of the most feared beings in Hell. As she pondered ways to stall for time, the front door slammed open. The silhouette of a huge man, holding some sort of crude bladed weapon loomed in the doorway. Vaggie was on her feet in an instant, holding her spear. Angel produced a tommy gun from out of nowhere, and Husk smashed the bottle he was drinking from on the bar, making a make-shift shiv. Charlie, of course, got to her feet with a great big smile—the first genuine one she had in a few days—and beamed at the menacing figure in the doorway.

“Welcome to the Happy Hotel! Please come in!” She said, while Vaggie kept her guard up. The hulking beast of a man stomped into the lobby, walking past Charlie and Vaggie wordlessly. She blinked, a bit put out, but still glad to have someone interested in checking in. Husk, on the other hand, looked between the masked behemoth in front of him, and the broken bottle he had intended to defend himself against said behemoth with. Charlie looked up at the man. “Name?”

The Trapper looked down at her. His mask, soaked in dried blood of the Entity’s sacrifices, grinned down at her while keeping his face shrouded in darkness. “Evan Macmillan.” He said in a gruff, deep voice. Evan was more than a little surprised at how fearless this girl was. The other demons had acted as one might expect when a huge man with a weapon and a mask approached, but this girl…she’s downright HAPPY to have him here! The thought made him uncomfortable…no one was glad to meet him. Not even back before the Entity took him…well there had been a few friends…no. They were not friends. They betrayed his trust in the end. They were truly maggots, as his father had told him. He looked at Husk. “You going to give me a key to a room or not?” He growled. Husk gulped and looked at Charlie. She nodded profusely.

“Husk, give him the key to suite 661.” Husk fumbled with the keys and handed it over to the Trapper, who took it in his monstrously large hand. His extremely scarred hand. In fact every bit of him that Charlie could see was covered in scars. And then there were the metal shards and hooks in his back and shoulders. She watched him go to the elevator, and slowly her smile began to wane. “He’s been hurt.”

Vaggie scoffed. “I’m sure whoever did it to him got far worse done to them! Honestly Charlie, I know that the goal is to redeem sinners, and that we really can’t afford to be picky…but did you SEE that man?! He looks like he could break Alastor over his knee!” Angel Dust snickered.

“I’ve never seen a more buff man. Wonder which way he swings? I intend to find out~!” Husker scoffed.

“Yeah, and if he doesn’t swing your way, he’ll end up ripping your arms off for trying to get in his pants…or overalls, rather.” Angel merely hummed.

“Kinky.” Vaggie glared at him.

“You are NOT flirting with the first patient we’ve had in a week! Why don’t you stick to annoying Husker?” Charlie tuned out the rest of their banter. She was walking towards the elevator.
“Who are you, mister Macmillan? Who hurt you…and who have you hurt, and why?”