phonomancer: (Default)
The brief detour to Milliways does eventually land Kohl back at his flat in Bristol, where the blinking IM window on his PC informs him that he needs to call Emily.

He can't say that what she answers the phone with is what he was expecting when she'd said it was important.


"Your concern is overwhelming, Emily. I'm still alive, thanks for asking."

"As if I ever had any doubt you'd squirm out of trouble. You're good at squirming. What did the troublesome Goddess want?"

"Someone's screwing with one of her aspects. She wants me to look into it."

"Well, better than your scrotum having a new career as an adorable miniature handbag. Which aspect?"


"Ha! Britannia? Dead Britannia? Someone's 'interfering' with a dead god? Ick! Double ick! You must succeed, if only for good taste's sake."

"Maybe. I just saw a ghost of Beth, looking like she did back then. Except Beth's not dead. I hope she isn't, anyway."

"Wait...David. Is this the Beth who stalked you for a whole year then slept with your best friend in a futile attempt to make you jealous?"


"So why are you a member of the Giving A Fuck club?"

"I care."

"You don't care. You never even slept with her."

"I do care. She was a friend. I just didn't like her very much. Besides. Seeing her like's not right. Even if it's nothing to do with this, I'd like to help her. Not all of us are monsters."

"Oh, David. You almost sound as if you actually believe that."


It's not the beer at the former haunt, now trendy wine bar. It's more like the 'nightcap' he had at the Bar, combined with Emily's words ringing around in his head.

That and mornings are the work of a demon conjured by Crispin Mills' highly competent yet still awful and disappointing evil double.

Still, there have been many mornings like this one and it's not as if he doesn't have a routine he can walk through with his eyes closed. Which he frequently still does.

It's only when it's time for the post-brush rinse that something starts to filter through.


Something not quite right.

He remembers something. Not as it should be. Should have been.

"Beth? Are you alright?"

"I don't...don't know where he is. I don't know where Richey is and I... I miss him so much."



Kohl can remember kissing her, Beth, there on the bridge. Then being led into her front room, her t-shirt on the floor, a black bra and...

...and last night, he had remembered Kid there with her on the bridge. Last night, Emily had mentioned that he'd never slept with her.

So why does he remember it now?

Something else filters through. Something not memory, but right here and right now.

Why the fuck is he listening to Echobelly?
phonomancer: (Default)
Kohl has not borne the witterings of occasional girlfriends for nothing. Sometimes he listens. Shocking, he knows.

It's still the reason he's waiting out in the cold and rain for Kid-with-Knife.

He can't do anything about the rain for now. He can't do anything about what the Goddess wants him to sort out either. But you know that scene in The Cell, where Vince Vaughn's guts are being slowly pulled out and wound around a spiked spit with a cute little handle?

Well, he can do something about his lower abdomen feeling a lot like that. And then maybe he can get a better grasp of this Goddess business.

And that involves smoking a cigarette in the rain, waiting for Kid. Kid isn't a Phonomancer. He is, however, a friend who can score something to take the edge off the cramps.

Kid, when he arrives, is almost entirely too cheerful for how Kohl is feeling. No matter. He can't help it.


The club isn't somewhere Kohl would have gone back to, if his insides didn't feel like they were being whisked with barbed wire. They do and so he's here.

At the door, Kid's confused for a moment.

"Can't you get us in for free?"

"Nah. Not one of my places. Not anymore."

The club where one young David Kohl learnt and practised his magic, where he was one an eye-linered indie kid, a trendy wine bar. Feels sacrilegious in a way. And strange. Seeing how it is now, but seeing how it was then at the same time. Memory overlapping with real life.

It's a dive masquerading as a trendy wine bar with it's hooks in a nostalgic past.

The kind of place where...

...yeah. There's a retromancer here.

Bastard nostalgia parasite. Living off the euphoric rememberings of yesteryear.

And here. In what used to be Kohl's temple.

Taking him out, might make it feel better for a while and could always get blamed on PMT. Or something. Not that anyone would know. The bastard's not supposed to be here. Yeah. Dealing with this worm would burn off some of the frustration and aggression that's building up and up the longer this curse-crap keeps up.

Just gotta get centred a bit, gather up some power, focus...

"Hey, Kohl. Do you believe in ghosts?"

...what? Kid's been chattering away the entire time they've been there but Kohl's not been listening. Until now. Sort of. He's got Kohl's attention now at least.

"I think I saw one earlier. Of Beth. Fucked up, man."


Outside, back in the rain, Kid will explain more. And he does.

"I think I saw a ghost earlier. Looked like Beth. Down by the weir."


"You know, the weird blonde girl who had a thing for you. I shagged her once, didn't I! I was SO out of my head."

Kid's chuckling at the memory, but Kohl isn't.

"Yes, Kid. I remember Beth."


Kid's not seen a ghost. Kohl knows that. Kid's as about as magic as Peter Andre's washboard stomach and Beth, as far as he knows, is still among the living.

But if someone like Kid has seen something transnormal? Something is definitely wrong, and knowing Kohl's luck, it's got to be tied up with what the Goddess has him looking into.

The weir is relatively easy to get to.

With bolt cutters. Kid's got them though. Somehow. And it's a short walk up the stairs and ...

It's Beth. She's a ghost and she's still here. Circa Britpop.


No answer.

"Beth? You cool?"

"I...It's just...I miss him. I don't...don't know where he is. I don't know where Richey is and I... I miss him so much."

And then there's Kid, kissing Beth, or at least that's what Kohl sees and that's what Kid remembers because Kid's not moved an inch while they've been watching Beth.

But that's just how it works for Kohl. Friends' memories are just as real as his own, when he sees them again.

"Beth?" It's worth a try. Kohl could get an answer from her and this would solve the whole sodding thing and he could get back to living.

"Why are you still here?"

"Richey. I won't leave him. I won't betray him. But what do you care? Fucking townie scum."

She's gone.

It's something to think about, how much they've changed since then and now. It's something to think about another time though. Now? It's time to go home and think about Beth and Richey and Britannia and what the hell is going on.


May. 24th, 2008 08:07 pm
phonomancer: (magic)
Out in the rain, it was almost as if it was yesterday, an hour ago, five minutes ago, happening right now.

A goddess flitting past him, down the street.

"You're David Kohl, aren't you?"

"I'm whatever you say I am."

He had been young then. Very young. Innocent to a degree.

That had been ten years ago.




Eight years since he'd left Her. Betrayed Her.


Seven years since She'd died.







Just one hour since She'd accosted him in a toilet and set him up with this mission.
phonomancer: (mylifeispain)
The memories hit him. His own. With Her it's easier than usual to remember them.

Years ago. Yesterday She says.

It's just another night to start with. Another night at some club. And you can't end the night alone. It's just not done.

And there she is. Glitter and eye-liner. Young, fresh, sparkling. A hint of her potential for much more glimmering beneath the surface.

A hint of untapped energy to get a taste of. The allure of a shiny new gadget, popped straight from the packaging.

More than that though. She needs to know about the other side of the whole she-bang. The down to go with the up. The cost of using the goods.

As it were.

And he was just the man to teach her that lesson. Along with a few other things perhaps.

"You're proud of that aren't you?"

Oh God. He couldn't resist. The urge to be a cocking arse. To try it on. Even with Her.

"Well maybe. But the shame you never lose."

The crunch of his face against the mirror registers in David Kohl's mind only after it has already happened.

"Don't you dare invoke THAT here. He can't reach you or protect you or..."

And then the raging of the angry Goddess shifts. Takes on a new flavour. An undercurrent of pity for the creature bleeding into the sink.

"Oh no. You believe it. You think this thing powered by obvious lust and buried guilt you've become is a man, not just another colour of boy. But you know what's worst about that story?"

He knows what's coming. He knows what he's like.

"You cared. You knew how it feels to be lonely, insecure, lost in flux, lost in everything. You understood. And you did it anyway."

Kohl can't look at the broken reflection of a man in the mirror anymore. He doesn't feel good about it, but it was necessary.

It's decided that it's time to get down to business. Not by him of course.

"One of my aspects is being interfered with: Britannia... You were close to her once, weren't you Kohl?"

Foreboding and unease strike up a chorus to go with the fast beating of his heart and the thud in his head.

"She...made me."

"And if she changed...whatever would you become?"

Nothing? A shadow of his former self? Sodding Dwayne Dibley?

Kohl doesn't get enough of chance to think about it before She continues.

"So go. Serve me and save yourself. And while you're not worthy to labour under my blessing, since you're so enamoured with guilt, perhaps a curse...for irony's sake, the curse."

His insides twist, contort, tear, some alien is trying to erupt from his abdomen.

He has to get out. Out away from all these women. Somewhere...safer.
phonomancer: (mylifeispain)
Amid the gut-wrenching agony, Kohl's head swings round instinctively to catch the delightful Scout Niblett turn very much into The Artist Formerly Known As Scout Niblett.


The blonde at the bar is forgotten as he plunges towards the back of the club, towards the gents, towards a gaping toilet bowl where he relieves himself of several rum and cokes and the remains of a half digested pizza.


Aster. She'd know what to do. Yeah. Kohl fumbled in his pocket for his phone, holding it to his ear as he tried to rid his mouth of the taste of alcohol and bile.

Eventually, she answers. With a greeting of orgasmic moaning.

He was good, but he wasn't that good.

Nevertheless, he gave her the low-down - the Goddess incarnating, the inkling that he may be in for a spot of bother. Emily, being Emily and not David, knows that he's in trouble. And that he's a fool. And that he should have been running instead of wasting his time on the phone to her. It's then that he whirls and spots the narrow window. It's then that he scrambles up the wall, turning back to see what he can feel heading towards the door.

She's there. Right there. With Her "Hello David". Like She's been expecting him and She has. She brought him there.

Even as he slithered further out of the window, he tried stalling her with attempts at explanation. Attempts they both knew would never work or even get heard. It's not what they're there for.

David Kohl's not entirely sure what it is they are there for though. She's not happy though. Not at all. But he'd known that the moment he'd felt the pain strike him low in the gut.

"Shut up, David. I'm not going to kill you."

At least She's not going to kill him, the fear of that had entered his mind as she's carelessly torn him from the window and thrown him down to experience the 'charm' of the floor.

"You're not an enemy. If you were, I'd have surgically pricked you like a pimple ripe with pus. But you, Kohl... you betrayed me."'s not sounding good.

"I brought you here to hurt you."
phonomancer: (Default)
...and into another. Right where he should have been before getting sidetracked. And the world didn't seem to notice he was gone.

There's just something not right about that.

Something that Kohl's gonna shake off with the help of some new ladyfriends, a couple of drinks and an evening's musical entertainment.

Or he would, if the music wasn't so... empty and boring.

The first act is tolerable. One dire acoustic singer-songwriter on the bill can be survived. It's not good, but it's survivable.

The second and third? Start to drain his will to live.

The brief respite he gets before the fourth undoubtedly awful moaning Minnie gets on stage is enough for him to steel himself a bit, to fume over being tricked into coming into this hell-hole tonight (never mind he's spent the last couple of months at the end of the universe and he had turned up to get laid mostly) and to plan an intricate act of revenge involving a rubber chicken, 10 metres of hose pipe and some apple chutney for the next person to piss him off.

The fourth act's arrival, however, is too much. Time for a stiff drink. It'll ease the pain.

And so will the honey he's spotted leaning against the bar. Time to work the old Kohl magic. It's going well, he's the right mix of danger and wit, and compared to the joke that masquerades as "competition" in this place? He's a god.

And finally, FINALLY, the music decides to turn the corner into awesome street. One Scout Niblett. A drum kit. A soaring, aching voice. And he's lost.

For three minutes and forty-eight seconds.

And then it turns out that this girl knows Lady Vox. And it's going great until a subtle undercurrent that's been chasing him all night suddenly shifts, trips him up and the sensation of a knife twisting in his abdomen almost fells him.

....well shit.
phonomancer: (Default)
Tonight was the night.

Well, strictly speaking, every night was "the" night. It was all just a matter of how much you believed and David Kohl believed in himself enough for a whole legion of himself.

Toxic enough to be interesting, but not too toxic that a little of the old Kohl magic couldn't get him more than his share of the action.

He was not, if anything, a charmless man.

Tonight was Ladyfest, not something that most would expect him to attend but Kohl liked a bit of a challenge. That, the energies he could tap there, the rumour that Lady Vox would be there and...

Well, a club full of women and one David Kohl? He was sure to get laid.

A cigarette and a moment dealing with the small issue of the guest list at the door and he was in, walking down a short corridor to another door and...