Friday, April 20, 2012

"Cartman Rising" Chapter 14: Damnation

 South Park fanfiction
Rated T for language, some sexuality, and just Cartman in general

Having an agent in Mindworld had proved incredibly helpful. Needless to say, I had used Butters to wipe the memories of both Dr. Chinstrap and Ike's guard, so that the details of my secret weapon stayed secret. I was now the only person who knew of the existence of Mindworld (except for Butters, of course); not even Wendy knew. We were able to release Ike without any trouble.

In addition to watching Kenny and Wendy, Butters also spent some time observing various world leaders. From his reports, I began filing away any information that would be useful for either blackmail or annexation of every other world nation. Butters also reported that the general U.S. public was fairly pleased with their new leadership; while they were not really enthusiastic about a non-democratic government, they did appreciate the efficiency of our work.

Frankly, I was at a loss as to how I could deal with Kenny. The curse that kept him from dying was ultimately a big problem. No matter what physical punishment I could inflict on him, he could easily kill himself, and erase it. Imprisoning him might work, but one slip up, and he could kill himself and escape. Traumatization was also out of the question; since he had literally been to Hell and back, there wasn't much more I could do to him. Even having Butters alter his memory was risky; there was no way of telling if any damage we did to his memory would reset when he died. I longed to test something that might work, but I couldn't afford to risk it.

In the meantime, Kenny had grown more and more restless. He had been fairly cooperative and pleasant throughout this entire operation. But ever since our talk, right after the inauguration, he had become more snappy and irritable. He questioned my judgment constantly, and he was quick to make snide remarks at my expense. And ever since our numbers had reduced to three, it had gotten even worse; clearly, Kenny wasn't taking well to being outnumbered.

Since I didn't have a plan for dealing with Kenny at the moment, the best thing to do was to try to keep him happy and occupied. So the two of us took a tourist trip to New York City, for some bonding. Very friendly, very informal, and very platonic. The guy was so distrustful of me that he insisted on being the one to drive. Did he really think I was going to lure him to some remote location and kill him? What good would that do?

Coney Island turned out to be a great idea. The longer we stayed there, the more Kenny loosened up. Going to a fair was something that Kenny had never been able to properly do as a kid, being as poor as he was. Sure he had gone to fairs, but he had never had enough money to enjoy himself as much as one should. And even though we had all the money we needed, he enjoyed being there in a capacity other than a ruler: a commoner for a day. Personally, I didn't see the appeal, but keeping Kenny happy was in my best interests, so I went along with it.

We were at Coney Island for several hours before Kenny suggested we drive up to Manhattan to get some shopping and sightseeing done. On the way there, we were talking and laughing just like the two old friends that we were, without a care in the world. We were both legitimately enjoying ourselves.

"How about grabbing a bite to eat downtown?" I suggested.

"Are you kidding?" Kenny laughed. "You just had like five of those funnel cakes! You can't possibly still be hungry!"

"I don't want to be an anorexic," I said. "Besides, it was only four funnel cakes."

"I guess even four can't fill your fat ass," he said. I started to correct him, but he interrupted, "I know, I know. Big boned." He paused. "They were good funnel cakes," he admitted.

"They were great," I said. "Better than any funnel cakes at any fair in South Park. I guess everything is better in New York."

"Don't forget bigger," Kenny added. "Did you see that giant Ferris Wheel?"

"Oh yeah," I said. "That thing was at least twice as big as anything we had back home."

"It sure was," Kenny agreed. Then a strange look came to his eyes, like his mind was far away. "Butters would have loved to ride that Ferris Wheel."

Gulp. "Eyes on the road, Ken," I said. I averted my gaze, but noticed his fingers tightening on the wheel. His knuckles were white.

And the day had been going so well, too.

"I don't suppose there would be any point in asking where Butters is, would there?" Kenny asked.

"Not really."

Another awkward pause. "So," Kenny began, a touch of cruel sarcasm creeping into his voice, "should I be flattered? That you've saved me for last?"

"Wendy's still here," I reminded him. And also Kyle.

He ignored me. "On the one hand, it could be a sign that you trust me. But then, you could trust Butters even more; he was so blindly loyal to you, while I threatened to abandon you outright. And now Butters is gone; only God knows where. I can only imagine what you would do to a traitor like me"

I thought at Butters hard, "What's Kenny doing?" But Butters couldn't offer anything helpful.

"On the other hand," Kenny went on, "you always did have an air for the dramatic. After all, you haven't done anything to Kyle, your "greatest foe," except turn his best friend into a drunk and his brother into a vegetable. You've still got something planned for him. Something big. And since I'm the only other one left, I can only assume you've got something big planned for me, too."

It had only now just occurred to me how vulnerable I was. There was no way I could harm Kenny, but he was holding my very survival in his hands.

"So…which is it?" he asked. "Am I still here because you trust me slightly more than the others? Or is it because I am your grand finale?" Kenny laughed, and something in that laugh was unhinged. He was losing it.

"I suppose it doesn't really matter," he continued. "Either way, I get metaphorically thrown into the river. Like this river." He gestured out the window, as we started to cross the Brooklyn Bridge.

"BUTTERS!" I thought.

Butters shouted, "Watch out!" but by then, I didn't need his warning. Kenny looked at me, and I saw pure, cold, murder in his eyes.

"Tell you what, Cartman," he said, slowly and deliberately. "In the interest of the 'greater good' you go on so much about, why don't I save you the trouble of justifying this to yourself?"

Kenny shoved the steering wheel to the right, hard. I tried to wrestle for control of the vehicle, but it was no use; his grip was like iron. The car swerved, skidded, and then crashed through the barrier on the side of the bridge. We sailed out over the river. Then gravity took over, and we plummeted downwards.

At this height, we would never survive the impact. Not that that mattered to Kenny. He just leaned back in his seat, and waited patiently for death.

No. I can't fail. It can't end like thi—


Then white.

Then everything came into focus. Kenny and I were both standing in total nothingness. He was just looking around, like he was bored. Then again, this had already happened to him several times. If I had to guess, I would say this was Limbo, or something similar.

Which meant I was dead. Which meant my plans to improve the world were in ruins.

I grabbed Kenny by the collar and shook him violently. "You fucking idiot!" I yelled. "Do you have any idea what you done?"

Kenny was unfazed. "Yes. I've saved the world from you." He sighed. "It's a satisfying feeling."

I hated that bastard. I wanted to kill him. But we were already dead. However, my death would be permanent, while he would soon be walking amongst the living, unpunished for his crime. What kind of justice was that?

A bright flash interrupted our fight. A fiery doorway opened, and a man dressed all in black stepped through. An upside-down cross hung from a chain around his neck. It was Damien Thorn, who was the son of Satan, the Antichrist, and a former classmate of ours.

"'Sup, Damien," Kenny nodded. While I was understandably a little more scared to see Damien here now, I couldn't say I was really surprised.

"Well, well, well," Damien said. "Looks like you two had a little accident."

"Nope," said Kenny, without any hint of remorse.

Damien sighed, "Kenny, what have we told you about actually killing people? That's gonna be a few hours in Hell. Now, go get your fine paid, so you can be on your way."

"Thanks," Kenny said. He started to walk away.

"Wait!" I demanded, grabbing Damien's arm. "What about me?"

Damien wasn't an easy person to intimidate. "You," he said, grinning, "are screwed."

Kenny looked over his shoulder. "Don't worry, Cartman. Maybe I'll stop and visit you from time to time," he laughed. "In Hell."

Hell? HELL? Oh, fuck no!

I looked into Damien's flaming eyes. "This wasn't how it was supposed to happen."

That got Kenny's attention. He turned around and looked expectantly at us, but Damien knew what I was talking about.

"You failed," he snapped, frowning.

"But I wasn't supposed to fail," I reminded him. "Weren't you supposed to be keeping an eye on things?"

"Kenny was…an unexpected variable," Damien explained.

Kenny finally figured it out. "You two were in league with each other?" He looked at me. "Is that how you were able to gain so much power in the first place?"

"Sort of," I told him. "I did come up with the entire plan; Damien just gave a few pointers here and there. You know, a little supernatural insight. Mostly, it was just him keeping me from making a stupid mistake." Which I didn't really need.

"So you made a deal with the devil to rule the world," said Kenny. I nodded. Kenny thought about that. "You know," he said, "that actually makes a lot of sense."

"The idea was that, once the world was united, Satan and Damien could have it after I was finished," I said. "But, of course, that whole arrangement is ruined now." I glared at Damien. "Your dad is not going to be happy."

"He'll deal with it," Damien said. "He knew there could be setbacks."

"But he really won't be happy with this setback," I warned him, pointing at Kenny. "Or with you."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Damien asked. There was a slight quiver in his voice now.

"It means I know your dirty little secret," I said. "That Kenny—"

"Sh!" Damien hissed, now looking panicked. "Keep your voice down!"

Smiling, I whispered. "That Kenny is immortal because you made him that way. You wanted to have a friend who was comfortable being in Hell, so you made Kenny immortal, so that he would be in Hell only for short visits, instead of spending all his time being tortured." It was already standard practice to have dirt on anyone I did business with, so why should a supernatural partner be any different?

"But, of course, your dad wouldn't have allowed this, so you did it in secret. And because Kenny is no mere mortal, his actions can't be predicted the same way everyone else's can. I wonder how he would react to finding out that his plans for world domination were thwarted by Kenny, whose interference you made possible."

The look of horror on Damien's otherwise stoic face was priceless. Was everyone really this easy to manipulate? Silly Antichrist: Eric Cartman doesn't make deals with the devil; the devil makes deals with Eric Cartman!

Kenny was shocked. "How do you know all that? I didn't even know that!" He looked at Damien. "You gave me my curse?"

Damien nodded solemnly. No doubt he was curious as to how I knew as well, but he knew I wouldn't tell him (by the way, thanks, Butters!).

Then he hung his head. "What do you want, Eric? In exchange for not telling my dad?"

Hmm…what did I want? "Well, for starters, I want to live again."


Then a thought occurred to me. "I also want you to take away Kenny's immortality and give it to me."

Kenny gasped, and Damien frowned. "Don't you think you're asking a little much?"

"No," I replied. "You're still keeping one of us, and sending the immortal one on his way. In exchange for your dad not punishing you, I don't think that's too much to ask."

Damien thought about it. His contemplation was a show; he really had no better option. "Deal," he agreed. Kenny shouted in protest, but two demons appeared and restrained him. "Just one question," Damien said, ignoring Kenny. "How did you know? I thought everyone's memory was erased with each death."

I considered it. "Well, he's my best friend," I replied. "A real friend doesn't forget something like that. So while Kyle and Stan would cry at the heavens, I simply held on to the moment. And when their memory faded, I remembered, and mourned him on the inside. Every time."

I looked at Kenny. "It's a shame it had to come to this. We could have ruled the world together. Me, with my wife on my right, and my best friend on my left. But he has fallen away from the true path, and he will never allow the world to rise under its proper leadership. A truly tragic loss."

Damien nodded. The fiery gateway reopened, and the Antichrist disappeared into it. The demons pulled my friend through it, and into the depths of eternal torment. I'll miss him.

"Don't worry, Kenny," I called after him. "Maybe I'll visit you in Hell."

I could feel myself slipping away from Limbo. The last thing I saw there was a bright flash as the gateway closed, and the last thing I heard there was the echo of Kenny's unending screams.

I reappeared on the Brooklyn Bridge. I could see the police and the fire department surveying the damage from our crash. The crash that had killed us. But I was still alive.

Thanks to Damien, I would soon have every person in the world under my control.

Thanks to Butters, I would be able to keep them under my control.

And now, thanks to Kenny, I would never die again.




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