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Beewolf

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  1. Like
    Beewolf reacted to Slime Mother in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    Indeed.nothing had entered the courtyard save the group of the Uselessness but theybhad been quickly ushered away by their duty.
  2. Like
    Beewolf got a reaction from AngryCacti in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    "Okay, this is bananas." I wheeze and double over, still trying to recover from the uncharacteristic exertion of running. Weird, 2-D sun aside, I need a minute to collect myself.
    I don't know why he thinks the claim that the blood isn't his should reassure me, but he seems to think it should, so I don't comment beyond quirking an eyebrow. I mull over his name, and it draws a parallel blank in my mind where my own name should rest with reasonable certainty. 
    "Um, I seem to have a slight case of retrograde amnesia? Or something? I...I don't remember my name or who I am, exactly. I guess you can call me --"
    I take a minute to riffle through my mental baby names book.
    "Sophie? Sophie. It'll do for a placeholder, I guess."
    When I recover my breath, my hands start to fidget with anxiety, and once I notice, I tuck them into my hoodie's front pouch self-consciously.
    I look back up at his perplexed tone and shuffle closer to regard the device in his hand. "What is that? Where did you get it from?"
  3. Like
    Beewolf reacted to AngryCacti in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    “I’m-“ I pause, an unfamiliar emptiness sitting on my tongue where a name should be. My brows scrunch as I think for longer than I should for an answer. It was a short name. I had a short name with a sharp end- something you could say quickly. “...Jack?” I said with reasonable certainty. “I’m normal, I swear. The blood isn’t mine.”
    I see the other person cringe and I put my hands out in a gesture of peace, though I stay my ground. She hasn’t told me anything about herself and for all I know, she could be the reason for all the bloody horrors I’d seen today. 
    I follow her gaze. “What,” I echo. I drop my guard and rub my eyes. I was hallucinating. I had to be. I pull the compass out of my pocket and look at it again. Was the needle still spinning? “What the hell,” I breathe.
  4. Like
    Beewolf reacted to Slime Mother in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    The needle was pointing back to the cathedral while you were thinking about who did all of this but then stopped,returning to lazilly spinning...perhaps this compass pointed to whatever you were thinking about or needed. It would be pretty cool.
    Unfortunetly,you werent hallucinating.the both of you were still stuck here in this place with no way out,no recollection of how you got here  and no idea what to do next.
  5. Like
    Beewolf reacted to Slime Mother in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    (Oh,its sunny everywhere,sorry.)
    A part of you feels like its the most normal thing,the sun grinning at you from a perfect sky,much like that of a child's drawing of an idealic world.here in this.....place,its anything but.
  6. Like
    Beewolf got a reaction from Slime Mother in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    I see that, reassuringly, no cultists have broken off to follow me when I glance back. I think I may hear something to the side of me, but I can't pick out distinct words. My heart races, spurring me on, until a figure manages to overtake me and block my path. I stop short, my arms windmilling to keep my balance.
    I have to blink a few times to adjust to the direct sunlight beating down here so I can drink in the worrying details I see on their person. 
    They look wild, their facial hair unkept and clothing splattered with blood. I cringe, and worry about its source. I'm on my guard immediately. 
    I bite back a hysterical giggle. I have no answer to that last point, obviously, so I counter with my own interrogation:
    "W-Who are you? Whose blood is that?" I gesture to their shirtfront. I smoothe my hair back in a nervous gesture, and my hand brushes against greasy caramel-colored strands. I cringe in disgust, wondering if I look as bedraggled as they do. I pass a hand over my leg where my capris cut off at the knee, and notice some hair growth there. I could swear I had shaved that morning.
    Keeping an eye on them, I scan the periphery for more useful details, noting the landscape is particularly strange and unreal here. Something in the sky catches my eye, and I do a doubletake that nearly gives me whiplash. The sun looks like a cartoon depiction, like a child's bad fridge drawing. I point dumbly at it with a flat, "What."
  7. Like
    Beewolf got a reaction from AngryCacti in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    I see that, reassuringly, no cultists have broken off to follow me when I glance back. I think I may hear something to the side of me, but I can't pick out distinct words. My heart races, spurring me on, until a figure manages to overtake me and block my path. I stop short, my arms windmilling to keep my balance.
    I have to blink a few times to adjust to the direct sunlight beating down here so I can drink in the worrying details I see on their person. 
    They look wild, their facial hair unkept and clothing splattered with blood. I cringe, and worry about its source. I'm on my guard immediately. 
    I bite back a hysterical giggle. I have no answer to that last point, obviously, so I counter with my own interrogation:
    "W-Who are you? Whose blood is that?" I gesture to their shirtfront. I smoothe my hair back in a nervous gesture, and my hand brushes against greasy caramel-colored strands. I cringe in disgust, wondering if I look as bedraggled as they do. I pass a hand over my leg where my capris cut off at the knee, and notice some hair growth there. I could swear I had shaved that morning.
    Keeping an eye on them, I scan the periphery for more useful details, noting the landscape is particularly strange and unreal here. Something in the sky catches my eye, and I do a doubletake that nearly gives me whiplash. The sun looks like a cartoon depiction, like a child's bad fridge drawing. I point dumbly at it with a flat, "What."
  8. Like
    Beewolf reacted to AngryCacti in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    The skeletal man leads the veiled congregation onto his boat. I watch from afar, hidden behind a corner. Only my face shows as I peek at the procession. There’s a disturbance in the line and another face catches my eye. I stare in astonishment as another human breaks through the lines.
    Where they like me? Where had they been hiding? Why were they with the congregation? A memory of an echo chills me. If it was no echo that I heard inside the twisted cathedral, then I had unknowingly left a human- another person- to their fate. 
    I risk a glance at the cult. Their masses have not moved in pursuit of the other person. I grit my teeth and run after the human. I cut through the courtyard, hoping to intersect their path, and staying away from the sides of the buildings. Charging headfirst around this hellscape had brought me nothing but trouble, but I was desperate. I couldn’t let the first “normal” person I saw get away.
    Unless I am stopped, I run behind the cathedral. The wasteland beats down around me, but I am focused on the other person. 
    “Person-“ I hiss, too wary to yell, but unwilling to get close enough to easily speak softly. I don’t know who this person is. I’m aware I look insane; I’m gasping for breath, eyes wild, my red-brown hair is matted and grown past my chin, there are patches of unkempt scruff along my jawline, and my white collared shirt had a smattering of blood around the bottom edge from the fountain. “-Human- are you human? What the hell is happening?”
  9. Like
    Beewolf got a reaction from AngryCacti in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    I am having regrets.
    I stand gawking before the skeletally thin and diseased figure patiently poling the boat closer to shoreline for us to board. The nearer I had come to making out his features in the gloom, the surer I became that his presence couldn't portend anything good. I am holding up the line, and I can see the others behind me crooking their necks and reaching out experimentally to examine the sudden impasse in front of them. If empty eye sockets could look questioning and a bit perturbed, I'm sure theirs would.
    I have to make a break for it, and soon. I'm afraid to run towards the clock tower, in case it is peopled by more horrors. But I can see nothing beyond the buildings laying before me, and I don't know what may be in store in the expanse beyond them. I don't even know if my potential persuers can see me to give chase, or if they will only grab blindly for me once I break from formation. 
    But I begin to feel fingers twining in the fabric of my hoodie, and shaking them off, I make a break for it.
    I dodge left and note that I can't make out whether the other person has returned to the courtyard, and their fate remains an unsettling mystery to me. Still, if they yet survive, I feel dubious about possibly leading the cultist's entourage right to them, so I branch off and run into the great unknown, behind the cathedral.
    Hopefully, I can lose them there, if they are, in fact, chasing me. I can't hear anyone else's footfalls over the sound of the wind and the rushing of my own blood in my ears, and so risk a glance backwards to see if I am actively hunted or alone.
  10. Like
    Beewolf reacted to Slime Mother in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    They all head down to a river,a boatman with terribly diseased skin gestures them aboard.one of the figures,blessedly normal and without a veil is on the bank still,waiting.they  are the one actually normal thing in this hellscape so far
  11. Like
    Beewolf reacted to AngryCacti in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    The smell eminating from the inside of the shop was enough to make me gag. I stopped in my tracks, momentum lost, my goals gone from my mind. The hair on the back of my neck bristled. I felt behind me, my hand slipping on the door handle. This was a mistake. I shouldn’t be here. This was the cathedral all over again.
    Something moved in the glass of the fish tank. My reflection looked back at me from across the shop. My hair was longer than I remembered. Was that scruff always there? I raised a hand to my face and my reflection mirrored the action. My reflection winked. 
    I left very quickly.
    The last of the veiled congregation filtered through the courtyard. I stand quietly in the doorway until they disappear down the stairs. Keeping towards the edge of the courtyard, I creep slowly after them, staying out of sight. I would rather take my chances in the streets than with whatever lurked inside these buildings. Maybe the veiled figures knew a way out. At the very least, if I knew where they went, I could avoid them in the future.
  12. Like
    Beewolf got a reaction from AngryCacti in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    The desire for total obeisance dampens the further and further we get from the doors of the cathedral and the direct gaze of that -- that Thing in chains.
    Blinking until I feel fully-aware again, I take in my position in line as my former de facto brothers and sisters heading the group file towards a large boat at the bottom of another set of steps.
    Scanning around, I take in the haunting architecture, and the details of the peculiar statuary standing in the courtyard, their glittering objects attracting my gaze. I also note the figure loping towards a rather cede-looking butcher shop, and sigh internally. 
    I feel torn, because every instinct I own is saying to split off and hide for when the others inevitably come to hunt me down and return me to the fold, or worse. Then again, the only other person I've seen here looks like they're about to stumble into more eminent peril. 
    If I catch them in time, maybe I can head them off, and we can run to shelter together. But where is shelter? Where is safety in this place?
    Chances are, between the cultists, and the butcher's, and who knows what else lurks here, I'm just going to triple our chances of a joint and grisly death without having some time to get my bearings. They're just going to have to tread lightly and fend for themselves a little while longer. 
    I weigh my options, and decide to stick with the group. They seem to, at a bare minimum, at least tolerate me as long as I fall in line, and that might suffice to ward off any other threat that may consider hunting me here if I remain unprotected. Saftey in numbers, and all that. The courtyard has proven too dangerous already, and I'm curious to see whether any other place further down river might be more inviting, or at least less hostile, to human life.
    I shoot one last lingering look at the figure now standing before the butcher's, but lightly shake my head in regret and carry onward.  
  13. Like
    Beewolf reacted to Slime Mother in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    The gaggle of your brothers and sisters step down the stairs of the cathedral,passing through the courtyard and past the other person. You have a choice now,to stay here and talk to the other person or to continue down to the steps with your brothers and sisters. To gain answers and be labelled a traitor? Hunted down by Saviors and Loves and Apathy itself? Or to continue on with your duty,for you are Uselessness and you must reach the boat at the bottom of the steps.
  14. Like
    Beewolf got a reaction from AngryCacti in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    My mouth drops open in shock as I watch the only other human in sight bolt like a startled baby gazelle and leave me to stew in my imminent doom. 
    "Did they just--?" I can't help but rasp, but that's as far as I get in my self-indulgent rant.
    A hand shoots out from my left and secures my flailing left arm in place; the motion is echoed on my right. Instead of feeling alarmed, I feel a sense of rightness and belonging wash over me, like I'm among my kin, among the Host. The grip on my wrists coaxes my hands together in supplication, and I readily submit to the act, bowing toward the figure sitting on the throne before us, resplendent in Her chains. I feel the twin grips on my arms release, but feel no desire to shift from my new position, beyond the need to catalogue the subtle feeling of being watched.
    My eyes drift towards the rafters, where shadows are made thicker there by countless quivers-worth of black feathers. With a certainty I can't quite place, I know the sharp beaks I can hear clicking there above me will rend me apart relentlessly until I am nothing but bone, spent carrion, if I stir again, if I am out of order. I can feel their judgment hanging thickly from my outburst earlier and it makes me curl into myself with shame, feeling utterly useless -- a burden to my Brothers and Sisters. An irritating mote in the eye of my god.
    We stay bent and hushed for some time until She is sated with our subservience, and then we are summarily dismissed, rising as one. We leave the cathedral in an orderly train, no lantern-bearers flanking us as we make our exit, nothing to light the way. 
  15. Like
    Beewolf reacted to Slime Mother in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    Your brother to the side whom you jostle doesint react,kneeling down to pray.You feel a.. pull,of some sort. To stay seated,pray towards the figure in the throne. She is God.She is everything....you must worship her and once your brothers and sisters leave,you must go with them,lest you be slain by the birds in the raftors.You dont know how you know all of thithis but you do. For you are Uselessness and you must pray....but are you Uselessness? Or are you a human,an outsider that does not belong?
  16. Like
    Beewolf reacted to AngryCacti in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    I stumble back, feet scuffing against the cathedral floor, heart pounding. I cover my mouth to stop a strangled sound from escaping. The twisted, grotesque countenance of the figure fills my vision until the static dripping of blood consumes my thoughts. There’s an echo of my words and shifting of cloth, but I don’t wait around to investigate. 
    I turn heel and run for the door. 
  17. Like
    Beewolf got a reaction from AngryCacti in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    I rowse slowly and notice that faint light is streaming through a thin layer of fabric covering my face. I start to hyperventilate as I become more aware; the fabric is oppressive, and as soon as sleep paralysis releases my limbs, I tear it from my face. I look at the drapery in my hand: a veil. My confusion morphs into a prickle of fear as I look around me, trying to gain a sense of orientation, and instead feeling more divorced from reality with every passing detail I take in, the only thing grounding me in this place being the humble wooden pew I find myself unnacountably slumped against. A tentative whisper issuing from somewhere in my lowlight surroundings startles me:
    The sound echoes strangely beneath vaulted ceilings, and I consider staying mum, but the voice is so human and unsure that it emboldens me to whisper back, "H-Hello?"
    I notice a movement from one of the veiled figures a few rows ahead of me as they turn their head to regard the owner of that voice, and it draws my attention there, as well. I try some impromptu sign language to capture their attention and communicate the idea that they should be a little more cautious of mysterious, silent figures in what could very well be Black Mass (barring me, of course), but accidentally jostle the figure to my left. Oops.
  18. Like
    Beewolf got a reaction from supernal in Fallng Down the Rabbit Hole   
    I rowse slowly and notice that faint light is streaming through a thin layer of fabric covering my face. I start to hyperventilate as I become more aware; the fabric is oppressive, and as soon as sleep paralysis releases my limbs, I tear it from my face. I look at the drapery in my hand: a veil. My confusion morphs into a prickle of fear as I look around me, trying to gain a sense of orientation, and instead feeling more divorced from reality with every passing detail I take in, the only thing grounding me in this place being the humble wooden pew I find myself unnacountably slumped against. A tentative whisper issuing from somewhere in my lowlight surroundings startles me:
    The sound echoes strangely beneath vaulted ceilings, and I consider staying mum, but the voice is so human and unsure that it emboldens me to whisper back, "H-Hello?"
    I notice a movement from one of the veiled figures a few rows ahead of me as they turn their head to regard the owner of that voice, and it draws my attention there, as well. I try some impromptu sign language to capture their attention and communicate the idea that they should be a little more cautious of mysterious, silent figures in what could very well be Black Mass (barring me, of course), but accidentally jostle the figure to my left. Oops.
  19. Like
    Beewolf reacted to Fox in Collision   
    (Character: Amagdalum; Artist: Kawacy)

    (Character: Nobunaga; Artist: Kawacy)
    They were inseparable: cat and dog.
    And they got along just as poorly.
    "Leave me alone, Amag!" 'Course, Nobunaga didn't really mean it. It came out as a panicked scream, but there was nothing on Nobu's face but sheer delight. Flickering sunlight illuminated her sharp teeth at intervals, and her green eyes' pupils had narrowed into deadly slits, as always under situations of high stress.
    Her ears, matching in color her black hair, made subconscious adjustments as she tore through the jungle vegetation, constantly changing their angle for her auditory advantage.
    Nobunaga heard Amagdalum laughing behind her as she wove through the dense foliage, trying to lose the dog spirit.
    Of course, being a cat spirit, Nobunaga was always the prey: the object of the hunt.
    She moved swiftly through the trees, "swift" being an understatement. Underfoot, she crushed green, leafy plants. Her shoes left deep footprints in the moist soil, and small branches reached out and snagged her clothing, creating tears and leaving sharp cuts on her skin. Interestingly enough, the game of the chase left no room in her awareness for the processing of pain.
    She'd deal with it later.
    The jungle was beautiful at this hour, but Nobu had no time for aesthetic appreciation now. Though she knew Amag would never hurt her—their bond was too strong—her body didn't know that. With the surges of adrenaline racing through her, Nobu's body had entered a mode of "fight-or-flight," a product of Nobu's evolutionary heritage.
    But it had been too long. They'd been fighting for over an hour now, and her muscles screamed with exhaustion. She cursed under her breath, making a decision. Amag wouldn't win this time.
    She slowed down purposely, enough for the dog to catch up to her—
    And heard the unmistakable sound of a blade cutting through the air.
    Thwack!
    Nobu leapt back from the flash of white dominating her right-field vision. She blinked hard, clearing the sweat that had fallen through her dark lashes, until the figure before her came into focus.
    There Amagdalum was, her chest rising and falling rapidly. Her dress shirt, having once been a glossy, shiny white, was stained with dirt and blood. The sleeves were ripped and had been rolled above the elbows. It took her only a moment to pull the blade free from the tree, leaving a deep incision in the wood. Her eyes sparkled with primal joy.
    "Runner's high?" Nobu gasped, acutely aware that Amag had been seconds too late. She stepped further back and reached for her sword's hilt. With a glittering flash of black, the long and thin blade was out of its scabbard and held menacingly before her. She smirked, crouching slightly in a stance reminiscent of a feline, and made a show of protracting her claws.
    Amagdalum bared her teeth and lunged.
    Her blade slammed into Nobu's, forcing her backward. She dug her shoes into the ground and leaned forward, trying her best to prevent the dog spirit from overpowering her, but it was impossible. Strong though Nobu was, she was no match for Amag.
    But whereas Amag had greater strength, Nobu had greater speed.
    "Something like that." Amag smirked, sensing victory, and leaned in further, forcing the dark blade closer to Nobu's body. Behind the anger, she saw uncertainty in Nobu's eyes; Amagdalum, both taller and stronger, could easily win now. 
    Nobu grit her teeth, her arm muscles aching as she tried to keep the sword distant. But it took all her strength, and Amag knew it. She effortlessly pushed harder still, until they were only inches away. Then Amagdalum grinned, and delivered a hard kick to Nobu's back leg.
    Yelping in surprise, the cat spirit lost her balance and landed hard on her back. The force of impact knocked the ebony blade from her fingers. Quickly, she reached for the sword, but Amag beat her to it, using her free hand to press Nobu's deep into the ground. She used her other to aim the edge of her sword at Nobu's neck, pressing the blade against her skin.
    "I've got you now!" 
    Nobu said nothing for a moment, regaining her breath. Her mind was racing. Due to the speed at which she was currently processing information, it seemed that time began to slow down. Her deep, emerald eyes looked up toward Amag's expression of predatory focus.
    "No way out," Amag continued. "Might as well give up. I win, again."
    Amagdalum waited for Nobu to say the words of surrender so she could get off and help her up; at the moment, she had all but pinned Nobunaga beneath her.
    Nobu said nothing.
    And then the unexpected happened.
    Nobu's expression became coy.
    Her eyes shining with a confusing energy, she reached for Amagdalum's sword-hand, lightly resting her fingers over her wrist. Amagdalum flinched at the unexpected touch, feeling a sudden sensation of fear, but for some reason didn't pull away. She wasn't sure what, but something about Nobu's touch made her skin feel electric.
    She didn't realize she was staring at Nobu's hand.
    Nobu used her thumb to stroke the back of her hand gently; soothingly. For some reason unbeknownst to her—a reason she was scared to explore—the touch relaxed her. If it had been somebody else, the massage might have caused her heart rate to slow down and her breathing to deepen; but because it was Nobu, she had to remember how to breathe.
    Still, she tried to meet Nobu's eyes, not wanting to show weakness.
    Nobu shot her a charming smile.
    "You always do, don't you?" Nobunaga murmured softly.
    "What?" Her voice came out sharper than she'd intended. Having been so distracted by... irrelevant stimuli, Amag had completely forgotten what it was she had said. 
    "You always win," Nobu said, amused. "Very impressive."
    Her eyes lazily studied Amagdalum, who was struggling to keep her expression guarded. Amag suddenly became aware of the sound of her own heartbeat quickening in her ears, and cursed internally the moment she realized the feline would undoubtedly have noticed. After all, she could hear Nobu's heartbeat, which had for a while been slowing down. 
    Amagdalum didn't mean to—her muscles weren't even tired—but her sword-hand trembled involuntarily. Conscious that Nobu must have felt this subtle, almost imperceptible movement, she suddenly couldn't bring herself to meet Nobu's eyes.
    In the blink of an eye, Nobu gripped Amagdalum's wrist more tightly, and twisted her arm. Her guard having been temporarily lowered, Nobunaga took advantage of the timing to wriggle her pinned-down hand free of Amag's slackening grasp and reach for her ebony sword. She forced Amagdalum to fall backwards, leaping to her feet and leveling the pointed tip at her chest.
    Amagdalum's eyes were wide and she wore an expression of shocked alarm. Blushing involuntarily, she looked at Nobu with an expression of disbelief.
    Nobu raised an eyebrow.
    "I win."
    It took Amag a moment to grasp what had occurred, but when she did, her expression deepened into a flustered scowl.
    "D-damn you!"
    The jungle was dense, and teeming with life. Caught up in the chase, neither had noticed the minute details that might have earned them wonder for their excruciatingly beautiful surroundings. 
    Slipping through gaps in the thick foliage overhead, the sunlight fell in shafts of glittering light. It made its way down Nobu's sword, and glinted off of her belt and uniform buttons. The sunlight also fell on Amag, glistening off her shirt and lighting a fire to her red eyes. Slowly, Nobu's eyes began to return to normal, the slits widening and her face adopting a more human expression.
    Amagdalum glared murderously as Nobu laughed at her own cleverness. 
    "That was faster than usual."
    "You were fast," Amagdalum muttered, almost under her breath. Of course, thanks to her superior senses, Nobu had no trouble understanding her words. 
    Nobu retracted her claws and extended her hand, offering to help Amagdalum up. Amagdalum didn't move. She glanced up at Nobunaga's face, which had now adopted a placid and relaxed expression—a trusting and loving expression—but her own expression was guarded. She ignored the kind gesture until Nobu's ebony-colored blade was back in its sheath. Then she reached for her own sword's hilt and stood up on her own.
    "You're faster than you used to be," Amag stated, crossing her arms before her chest. She was feeling uncomfortable and she couldn't deny it, though not just because she had lost. It also had to do with the way she had.
    "And you're stronger than you used to be," Nobu pointed out, a smile on her lips. Amagdalum studied Nobu's expression warily, reassessing the person standing in front of her.
    Emotionally manipulated. She had been emotionally manipulated.
    Amagdalum shrugged, part of her frustration dissipating as she thought about the truth of what Nobu had said. She had gotten stronger, and that pleased her. More than she would say. But Nobu's words couldn't quiet the unease that lingered in her mind.
    Just what exactly did Nobu see in me to make her think that would have been effective? What was that about?
    "Yeah, whatever, fair enough." She put a hand on her hip and began to look around, adopting a neutral facial expression of boredom. "Too bad that's done with—fighting you is one of my favorite things to do."
    Avoiding the elephant in the room.
    Unlike Nobu, Amagdalum was actually barefoot, and her claws sunk into the cool and moist soil. Surrounding her feet was a forest of clovers that had cushioned her fall. Nobu laughed, stepping forward and trying to straighten her collar. A lot of good that would do; this was yet another article of clothing they had, in their passion, damaged. The movement startled Amagdalum, who instinctively tried to pull back. However, after a moment, she stopped resisting.
    "I promise, the feeling's mutual. And don't worry;  there will always be a next time. Besides, I think an hour and a half of playing rough is long enough. Let's head back now—what do you say?"
  20. Superlike!
    Beewolf got a reaction from supernal in Reborn in sin.   
    Minnow pointedly ignored the barfly tapping his empty glass on the counter to signal her attention as she tried to squint past the throngs of patrons circulating on and around the dance floor, past harried staff carrying trays and dispensing drinks, all while aggressively buffing the snifter in her hand to an eye-gouging shine.
    At a freestanding table off to the side, a slinky, sequined red dress with spaghetti straps caught the overhead lights as the woman in it huffed and re-crossed her legs, looking put out and tapping an acrylic fingernail on the rim of her own long-forgotten drink.
    Minnow sighed. She should have known that Courtney wouldn't take her latest string of breakups lying down, and her face took on a wry grin as she thought of her best friend's worrying predilection for mourning doomed relationships with the same wasting ritual: one of parties, pub crawls, and shots, shots, shots, usually in one night and in that order, followed the morning after with her desperately clinging to the toilet bowl and  moaning her pain like a Tuvan throat-singer doing scales, the obligatory Aspirin, and lots of pitying back rubs, with the last two being handled by the dutiful dispensation of Minnow, herself.
    Dutiful since late middle school, at least, when Courtney had proudly managed to jimmy open her parent's liquor cabinet and threw her arms wide in pride of her accomplishment, her smile not dimming even fractionally at Minnow's sarcastic golf clap.
    They hadn't been able to completely lift the subsequent whiskey stain from her father's white carpet afterwards with alcohol-challenged fingers and shedding paper towels, and had both been penalized with taking over the gardener's duties that subsequent summer.
    In classic fashion, Minnow's parents couldn't see the blight caused by underage drinking and eagerly waved off any wrongdoing on their daughter's behalf.
    But Minnow knew that that incident could have easily foretold the doom of their friendship, culminating in the star-crossed (but totally platonic) tale of the Kline's selectively separating their debutante daughter from her "food stamp friend," never mind that Courtney initiated the whole debacle and quickly confessed, probably sensing the same danger.
    And so for three months, Minnow meekly submitted her hands to duty until they were blistered from weeding and chapped from sunlight. (She still had a pinprick of a scar from a rosebush thorn on the inside of her left wrist, gardening gloves be damned.)
    Her smile must have turned rictus at some point during these recollections, because the rhythmic tapping of glass on wood quickly stopped, and she heard a chair dragging across sticky floorboards as it was vacated with haste.
    So yes, she was Sisyphus, and Courtney's hangovers were her boulder to push. Well, that and rental payments. Speaking of:
    A pale face framed by long and equally pale hair parted the crowds like a shark slipping through a school of fish. She could see the eyes in that face scanning the crowd for easy pickings, and she averted her gaze reflexively.
    Score.
    It should be noted here that Buffy Summers had been right; maybe not in the fact that vampires would marry their wardrobe to the decade in which they had died, but more generally in that they always stood out sartorially, like they couldn't help but collectively embrace the subconscious consumption of anything dark (preferably black), swishy, and dramatic in the way of clothing.
    A spray-tanned vampire in a crop top, sandals, and fanny pack, on the other hand, would have made for both a surprising and effective assassin. Pity that vanity seemed to be the sin uniting the lot, aside from the bloodletting.
    That, and the general berth that her fellow man seemed to unconsciously give them, all the while staring and flirting nervously with their eyes, was a bit of a tell.
    Minnow was a competent bartender. She could hobnob with all manner of client, mix a mean anything, and stack stools into towering arrangements at shift's end without causing a life-ending chair-valanche.
    Minnow also happened to successfully moonlight as a VHP, or a vampire-hunter-for-profit. (It was all on the DL. Outside of Sal and his merry band of misfits, only Courtney knew, and that was after one-too-many blood-encrusted articles of clothing skipped inspection and made it into their collective laundry basket.)
    Either way, it was a necessary evil because her and Courtney's landlord had raised their rent and knew no chill, and would have evicted them both if she hadn't found a second gig on the spot somehow. With such short notice, it would have either been that or waiting tables, and Minnow had felt it in her soul at the time that she needed to have at least one job that didn't come with a proverbial tip jar.
    She could go and drop off the head at Sal's later for the bounty, feeling especially grateful that she had brought a coat to wear over her uniform that evening due to the slight chill in the air. Even on black fabric, arterial spray could be picked out in adequate lighting conditions.
    Her eyes darted worriedly to Courtney, but she dismissed the odds.
    If anything happened to her, Minnow would vault the counter and elbow anyone on her warpath if she had to.
    Five minutes until her break. She just had to multitask for the next five minutes and keep him in her peripheral vision, whilst also doing bartending tricks for tips and keeping a thirsty mob satisfied. Right. Easy peasy.
    Three minutes in, and seemingly between pours, he had Courtney swaying in his arms.
    Oh.
    Oh, no.
    Why her?
    "Son of a--"
    Minnow threw her rag down and planted the tumbler she was holding on the counter with enough force to cause a hairline fracture in the glass. She might have cared that that was coming out of her paycheck if it wasn't for the sight unfolding before her, faster than she could scramble for something sharp:
    Courtney murmuring her last with fear clouding her eyes. Courtney bloodless and falling. Courtney lost amidst the shuffle of feet.
    -Why her?-
    Minnow had told her of vampires and their wicked wiles. Had given her pep talks, knowing her predisposition to flirt with anything that brooded and smoldered. Had even tried to slip her a tactical flashlight to carry for protection, which Courtney had refused with a flat "no." To her point, she would have been hard-pressed to fit it through the delicately yawning mouth of any one of her micro purses. And it's not like form-fitting dresses were known for their sensible pockets.
    But Minnow knew it was all for not as soon as you looked into a vampire's eyes. And obviously, this usually gave them the advantage from "Hello."
    And then things went to hell in a hand basket from there.
    She ducked behind the bar, tears swimming in her eyes as only the cheap plywood of the counter separated her from the bodies being felled in a row like trees in front of it. Rattled by the all-encompassing hysteria around her, she didn't think about the implications of the cool grip on her wrist until she locked gazes with her captor through the haze of her tears and the loosened strands of dark hair clinging to their moisture as he dragged her to her feet.
    She complied automatically, her face falling into a slack grin framed by tear tracks on either side of her mouth as her wrist was bitten open and her lifeblood drained into a vessel, and then kissed closed in a sick pantomime of intimacy.
    Then at the behest of forces beyond her, she picked up her rag and started to mechanically buff her own blood drops into the wood grain of the counter, her smile never wavering.
  21. Like
    Beewolf reacted to supernal in Cicero - 1920s Noir   
    Image is in public domain
    This is a realistic setting, which means no magic, meta-materials, or fantasy races. This has no bearing on the realism of plot contrivances or the natures or reactions of characters. I am basing Cicero off Chicago. I want to take an alt. history slant, where we can reference Chicago's history but also do our own thing rather than follow history's drum beat.
    Cicero, Illinois has a history of organized crime dating back to the mid 1800s and was touched by various arms of the American mafia. The time period for this setting ranges from the 1920s to the mid-1930s and stories can place anywhere in this iconic decade-and-a-half. If you're unfamiliar with what this might look like, think Boardwalk Empire or even Chinatown.
    Some notable historical events which players can incorporate in their play are:
    1920 - Prohibition is in full swing, making this the year that crime surges through the city. In addition to bootleg liquor and speakeasies, rackeetering increases in popularity and houses of prostitution "spread like wildfire" 1921 - The Thompson submachine gun / Tommy gun / "Chicago typewriter", becomes the weapon of choice for at least some of the city's mobster gangs (and there are several). 1923 - Al Capone establishes his headquarters in Lexington Hotel. 1929 - Eliot Ness returns to Chicago as a Prohibition agent under the Treasury Department and creates the "Untouchables" to try and stop the flow of illegal booze and bring down the Capone empire Common plots in this genre/time can include:  
    Work for a gang, rising up through the ranks to gain power or starting off with power and struggling to keep it Start an illegal moonshine operation and speakeasy Work as a police officer, either one that gets caught up in a world of bribery and illegal activities, or one that fights back against it at the risk of everything they have Be a private detective who takes a case and finds themselves in over their heads Literary elements for noir often focus on: the anti-hero protagonist and the femme fatale Technology
    1913 - Radio. By the '20s there are radio stations with shows and advertising 1913 - Refrigerator. '23 saw Frigidaire introduce the first self-contained unit 1921 - Drive-in restaurants and in '22 convertible cars. in '23 traffic signals 1925 - Television. '28 saw the first experimental broadcast in the US 1927 - Jukebox and democratized music Firearms include: the Tommy gun, shotguns, and semi-automatic pistols Attire
     
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