Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Melissa
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Melissa There's a 30% chance it's already raining!

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Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 - 02:44pm | The Loft

After saying her piece, Anneliese tried her best to listen and pay attention to what the other students had to say out of respect, but it was quite difficult to remain interested in the conversation. Although most of the students had some wise things to say regarding the subject, some definitely speaking more inquisitively than others, her mind continued to drift to other places while her hands continued to sketch. Instead of analyzing the subject at hand, she wondered what her mom was making for dinner and what time she was planning on sneaking out to Pandora’s Wall after her parents go to sleep.

The whole point of this class still baffled her, since sticking fifteen-some odd teens who basically had nothing to do with each other in a room and asking them to think about how they can make a positive impact wasn’t going to get anywhere. It reminded her of some of the books she had read previously, like 12 Angry Men, in that not everyone was going to think the same or act the same, and yet they were supposed to unite towards a common goal. It simply wasn’t going to happen. Her ears perked up as Jonas described what he believed the course meant- using the gifts you’ve been given in order to make life better not only for yourself but those around you. Oddly specific, but alright. The word ‘gifts’, however, made a shiver travel up her spine.

As he transitioned to the next activity, Anneliese could feel her stomach drop. She despised group work, as it usually went in one of three ways. The first being she would end up in a group and have to complete all the work on her own, the second being that she would get into a group and no one would listen to her small voice, or third, she’d end up on her own. Each scenario was less than ideal, and she didn’t like the idea of any of them. But at least cracking a code sounded somewhat interesting and enticing. Anne was so focused on her sketch that she had to do a double take when someone was speaking to her.

Shocked to hear someone calling out her name, Anneliese’s head turned so fast it nearly gave her whiplash. The brunette was even more stunned to see that one of her brother’s friends, Aiden, was the one motioning her over to join his group. Anneliese had never spoken more than a few words to him.… why was he all of a sudden talking to her? Most, if not all, of her brother’s friends never gave her a second glance; she was simply Louis’ sister, nothing more, which made this situation so out of the ordinary. As she picked up her things and moved over to sit near him, she summed it up as him just trying to be friendly in a small class where they were going to be interacting often.

Anne looked around at the other group members, one of them being the boy whose joke she laughed at earlier, which had earned her a wink in return. On the subject of the activity, the brunette didn’t want to be the first one to say anything, so she was thankful that the jokester asked what they were doing before she did. Taking a first pass at the translation sheet, she gazed at the alphanumeric code that was established as set of lines in different directions and amounts. “Well, each letter has an associated symbol, we just have to think of something we want to say, and then match each letter up to translate it properly.” Anneliese replied louder than her previous mumble, “Any ideas of what we should write?”
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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Stein
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Stein That's Queen Stein, thank you.

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Kae was on to smoking her 4th Al Capone sweet cigar, staring at the school from across the street. Tucked against a water tower on the opposite building, she noted the students milling in for the first day of classes. The sea of blonde and brunette trickling through the doors. There were bouts of laughter and a few squeals of excitement from the courtyard of the school. They were carried on the low wind current and warmed by the yawning sun on their way up to Kae’s ears. She took another drag, barely feeling the punch against her throat. Even as the first tones sounded, directing students to prepare for the official beginning of the semester, Kae sat and stared just past the school.

She tried to take in the sky, forget herself for a moment. The tone sounded for the late bell, and Kae fought a small urge to hop down and book it through the front doors, a flurry of apologies preceding her as she entered the front office to be marked tardy. But she held back as she saw the last students darting inside. She flared her nostrils and huffed out the last bit of her 4th cigar. “Nah, fuck this. I can’t—I won’t,” Kae began as she stood and dusted the flecks of rust from her pants. She looked up at the old water tower, a Jackson Pollack of rust spots and dirt. “It’d be real convenient if you decided to collapse and broke my leg or something. I’ll even go further and let you slice my side for some a tetanus scare if you want. Whaddya say big guy? Anything to give me an excuse out of Pasteville High?”

“I don’t think he’s feeling very talkative today,” a voice said below her. Kae spun to find the source, feeling herself bristle from being snuck up on. But she overcorrected, the weight of her messenger bag throwing her weight off, and promptly proceeded to fall off the water tower, ready to make an abrupt introduction to the roof of the building it sat on. But she felt herself swooped and cradled in a pair of muscled arms. The throaty chuckle that emanated in response to her involuntary squeal as she fell told her everything she needed to know.

“Dammit, Sensei! The fuck? Who the hell gives their pupil a near-death experience this early in the morning?” She squirmed out of her dojo instructor’s arms only to fall to the ground anyway with a soft thud. “I meant to do that!” she told him while glaring and dusting herself off as she stood.

Her sensei, jiujitsu instructor and mentor, Makarios Lilis, crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow at her. He didn’t say anything, simply stared at her with that smug and knowing smile she hated. She knew what this was, and she wasn’t playing the game this time around. She squared her shoulder, crossed her arms and looked away. She was ready to play the silent game as well.

But then, maybe she wasn’t. She could feel his eyes, and she knew the bastard had the patience of a turtle. “I’m not giving you what you want, Sensei.”

“Yeah you are,” Makarios told her. She kept her eyes trained on the skyline in the distance, but could hear him shuffle and sit down. “At least I can now tell your aunt you aren’t dead or kidnapped. You just aren’t woman of you word.”

With a grunt, she threw her hands to the air and gestured around. “Okay fine! I just didn’t want to do it, okay? I thought I could, but I can’t. When I left home this morning, I thought I was going to walk through those doors, give those white people my best smile and let them fade into the background of mundane necessity.” She stopped and looked at him fully, feeling her nostrils sting briefly. “But I can’t.” She expected to see him still looking at her with his arms crossed, waiting for a better answer—one that she wasn’t going to give fully, because fuck tears this early in the morning, her eyeliner was too on point—but he wasn’t even looking at her. Makarios was sitting on the ledge, patting a space right next to him.

Kae looked around, breathing the open air and hoping to fill her stomach with something other than the butterflies that currently resided in it. She finally sat next to him, feeling her shoulder unstiffen a bit as the first tear rolled down her cheek. “I’m sorry, Maki. I really am I just—maybe I’m not ready for this.”

Makarios put an arm around her. He told her he was only 28, just 11 years older than her. And everything about him correlated with that age. Hell, she even believed he looked around 25 in the face. But his eyes, as he looked out over the expanse beyond the school, always threw her off. Sometimes they aged in an instant when he was lost in thought. Their normal light green even came off a little more dark jade at times. In those moments, they looked like they belonged to someone who had walked this earth for a couple centuries. Sage-like, almost.

It was few moments before his voice interrupted the whispers of the soft wind that whirled around them on the roof. “There was a monk a couple hundred years ago who took years to truly get the knack for meditating. Others could see the pain he shouldered and carried like scavenged materials from trash—unable to let go, but it was all he knew,” Makarios stood up at this point, and balanced himself on one foot, adopting one of his favorite meditative stances. “One of the elder monks sat with him one day, and the young monk revealed he didn’t know how to get around his pain to find the peace and ask questions of it.” Maki spun on the foot to face the school without losing his composure, even balanced on the edge of the building.

“Every time the monk sat to meditate, to explore within, he would try to understand and explain his pain to himself. But the elder monk shook his head, telling him that going around was not the route to go within himself.” Makarios brought his hands together and took a deep breath, still looking out toward the school.

“The young monk didn’t understand him until one day, he stopped asking questions of his pain. In the open air of the temple’s courtyard, faced with blue and dusted tips of mountains, that he simply tried to embrace it. He spoke to the wind, capturing his painful memories in raw emotion.”

“It was poetry, if you will. The first words that came to his mind, before meditating, about any situation or problem, were words he held on to. Mentally repeating to himself.” Makarios was now bending over in one fluid motion and balancing himself on his hand. His voice was still even and measured as he spoke in a handstand position. “It was his way of giving form to his emotion. In his mental repetition of the words, he would lose himself. Allow himself to be lost. And before he knew it, in the midst of the setting Sun he would feel his spirit rising.” Makarios flipped himself and landed on his feet, arms outstretched and taking a deep breath.

“You see, he didn’t try to understand or explain away his pain. He simply tried to capture it and delve into it. For him, it was about losing himself on the way to finding himself that he could find and accept peace. And from there, enlightenment of such stature, he went on to reach 135 years of age. It was at his behest, his students said, that he actually passed on. He spoke aloud ‘I’ve accepted you, Death my old my friend. You are the pain I’ve tried to explain from the beginning. I delve into you and find my true worth,’ before he passed on.”

Kae blinked herself back to the present, only just realizing she’d lost herself in the story. There was a moment of silence between them before she glanced at him again and asked: “Really Sensei? That makes it sound easy but…is that true?”

Maki shrugged and motioned for her to stand. “Mmmm, eh. I don’t know. I made a few parts of it up. But my point is this: you’re trying to explain your fear. To understand and justify it. In doing that, you’re tying it your pain, Mikaela.” They were going down the fire escape on the side of the building now, the clang of metal on brick echoing off the building.

“But much like your pain, the only way to get past your fear, is to go through your fear. To delve into it. When you do that, surrounding yourself in your fear, you’ll see that most of it is just wisp. There’s body, but little substance to it. It doesn’t hold power over you until you look away, skirt around and make it bigger, heavier than what it actually is.” They were on the ground again and Maki lead her toward the street.

“You can do this, Mikaela. This first day of school is nothing compared to what you have overcome. The pain you fear this place giving you is almost laughable compared to the trials you’ve endured already.” Mikaela knew he was right, but there was something that was holding her up still. But even as she began to question it, she shook her head hoping to dislodge the thought.

“Trust yourself,” Maki told her. “And if you can’t do that, trust me. I won’t lead you astray, alright?”
Kae nodded her head, looking up at him again. “Alright fine, Sensei. I’ll give this a shot because I think at this point you might physically subdue me to get me to class.”

Makarios chuckled, but didn’t deny it and patted her on the shoulder. “Good thinking, Kae. Because we’re here.”

-

After dealing with the barely-concealed side-eye from the front desk secretary, Mikaela was able to get her schedule for the semester. Like she thought, “All this fucking advanced placement shit,” and as the urge in her rose to crumple the paper and stalk out the double doors again, she could almost feel Maki’s hug as he parted ways with her after checking her in. Her aunt would be pissed, for sure, but it was the disappointment, Kae was starting to realize, that would hurt her the most. Kae spent most of her life being disappointed by the people she trusted. Aunt Bea and Maki were the first people to start breaking that pattern. What kinda bum shit would she be on if she turned around and started fucking them over? Mikaela shook her head and rested it against the cool metal of the locker for a moment.

“Don’t mix the pain with the fear. Delve in, delve in, delve in.”

At this point, she’d already missed the first day’s assembly, homeroom and first period. It occurred to her that if her intent was to not draw attention to herself, maybe this wasn’t the most apt way to go about doing so.

Looking at her schedule in the empty hallway, Kae saw it was time for that Social Conscience program she’d been chosen for. Kae outright rejected it when the notice first came. While she walked the hall toward the room, she couldn’t help but reminisce over first learning of it. Her aunt worked for 3 days to talk her into it, because Kae always bucked from any program that seemed masked as an opportunity to turn her out and parade her “well-spoken” and “surprisingly insightful” self for the sake of a post-Affirmative Action goal. These ‘special programs’ always had a knack for drawing more attention to her than letting her lose herself in academia.

It was a moment before Kae even realized she had simply been standing in front of the door, schedule clutched in her left hand and the right one poised over the door. She could hear a voice, one she assumed belong to the course instructor, orating to the rest of the class based on his measure, cadence and pauses:

“You are in this class because each and every one of you has shown potential, potential to be able to make the world a better place and change the injustice surrounding us every day.”

Kae rolled her eyes, but stopped herself from groaning. Other teachers in her past have lamented about her resilience to “using her knowledge and talents to change the system.” She hated that speech, because it always seemed a clever way of putting the impetus on her to try and change the world, when she was simply trying to survive a system set up against her. But something in the instructors voice…the way he said ‘showing potential’ kept her listening on. But she still wouldn’t fully grasp the door knob. She listened on:

“…By discussing the difference between man and animal, we’ve begun to develop an understanding of how we’ve grown and developed as a species and our society is a huge part of that.”

Kae was certain someone had brought up man’s love of violence and our sense of morality. But had anyone mentioned?... She stopped her train of thought enough to gather the end of his speech to the class, and squared her jaw, flipped back her locks and opened the door the classroom just as he said:

“Well, get moving."

She kept her eyes deadlocked on the space above his desk, trying not to look at anyone and make a beeline for his desk. She cleared her throat involuntarily as she approached him.

“Mr. Jonas?” she started, “Hi sir, I’m Mikaela Maven. I think you’ve been in contact with my Aunt Beatrice about this course. I’m…” Mikaela found her eyes start to wander around the room. She wasn’t surprised but still disheartened. It was the same everywhere. The classroom was small, and being her first official day at this school, she didn’t have a hope of knowing anyone.

Her blouse suddenly felt as if it were trapping her body heat for thermal energy and she could feel the heat creeping up her neck and caressing her jaw. She realized she’d stopped speaking mid-sentence while glancing around the class. She brought her attention back to the teacher. “I’m sorry for coming in so late. I..fuck—I mean, I’m sorry. Sorry, I didn’t mean to say that I just—I’m, it’s. Umm. It’s—been a rough start to the day.”

But screw that, she didn't need to apologize so much. Like her mom said, 'Don't be sorry. Be better.' Mikaela took a quick breath and locked gazes with him and gave her best smile.

"But if I may, from what I heard of the tail-end of your speech. I'd like to give my own two-cents on the difference between man and animal. I don't know if anyone's brought this up, but there's something to be said about the way we lie. Our ability to mask emotions and deceive. It runs tangent to our language because, on some level, we break the rules of language we've established to deceive others." She shouldered her bag and gave another glance to the group work that was starting up. "I know that's...kind of an odd way to look at it, I guess. But, is there any way I can still get in on a group?"
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Lord Wraith
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Lord Wraith Big Tuna

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Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 - 02:50pm | The 'Loft'

Jonas allowed himself a small smirk as Makayla entered the room as she had promised through Aiden. It was evident through the girl's demeanor that reluctance clouded her will to attend the class and if Jonas possessed her gifts, he'd likely have the same feelings. The secrets of her classmates were open to her, Jonas' guise failed to have the same effect on Makayla as it did the other members of the group. But like the rest of them, Makayla's gifts were unrefined, untrained, and therefore she couldn't pierce the protection around his own mind.

At least for now.

Turning around, Jonas was surprised to realize he had missed Mikaela Maven enter the room as the girl approached her, giving her input on the earlier discussion before asking if there was a group she could work with. Nodding, Jonas pointed towards Lucas before speaking.

"I believe, Mr. Bray is in need of classmates to work with. Perhaps yourself, Mr. Brigandi and Miss Boyle could join him." The teacher stated before a blood-curdling scream brought a hush over the room. Looking around, Jonas quickly realized that the scream had come from outside as he issued an order to the class.

"Stay in your seats." Rushing to the door, Jonas' bag practically flew to his hands as he jumped several stairs before rushing outside. From around the bricked corner, a soft sobbing could be heard as Jonas rounded the corner to find a student rocking back in forth, her knees pulled up to her chest as she sat against the wall nearly hysterical. Looking at the wall, Jonas noticed a large protrusion as he placed a hand on his bag and slowly approached it.

It was vaguely humanoid, hands reaching out as though something had pulled it in. A face was clear in the stone, the jaw outstretched in agony as Jonas suddenly felt a pit in his stomach. He knew that face from the school's yearbook. It wasn't a protrusion of stone, no this was, in fact, a person. Someone who was supposed to be in the Loft right now.

It was Rita Ross.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Typical
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A R C H I E B L A C K , B A R O N O ' N I E L , B R Y N N R E Y E S , R Y A N M E N D O Z A , & W I N T E R C A R L Y L E

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M A T H E R M E M O R I A L H I G H S C H O O L:

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 - 02:45pm | The 'Loft'

At Jonas' call to break into groups, Brynn glanced at Winter, then around at the people closest to her. The room seemed to slowly be breaking into groups, with Aiden heading the formation of his, and Brynn was impatient to get the day done with.

Picking out three more people was simple enough. Next to her was Ryan, a cute little junior Brynn had seen around in advanced placement courses and at the Crestwood General Hospital, which meant she was likely an aspiring pre-med and therefore had a decent head. There was also the new kid and latecomer, Archie, who—according to Adrielle—had a short-lived career as a professional skater that was ended by some Hyperhuman-related family scandal. While he didn't seem the rule-abiding type, his skating career, however brief, spoke of his dedication and character, and Brynn respected those characteristics more than she disliked a lack of punctuality. For a third member, Baron, a fellow senior, would do. Though Brynn had barely shared a class with him since freshman or sophomore year thanks to her advanced placement-ridden schedule, he was at least a better bet than the rest of the crowd.

“Ryan, Archie, Baron,” Brynn said, glancing at the three in turn. “How about it?”

“Huh?” Ryan, having already resigned herself to a five-minute wait, seemed more than a little taken by surprise at hearing her name. Looking over towards Brynn, she paused for a moment’s thought. She at least recognised her, though from Ryan’s understanding the older girl was part of the popular circles that she herself usually kept her head down around. Still, even if she was a little apprehensive, it seemed like a better option than waiting for Mr Lehrer to decide, so she smiled slightly and nodded. ”Sure. Sounds good.”

Baron wasn't a fan of choosing partners for things and the fact that he was being forced to do it immediately was sort of unsettling. Group work was one of those things that required friends and he barely knew anyone in this class so far. He recognized a few people but he couldn't say that he'd ever had the pleasure ...or displeasure of talking to them before. He was ready to content himself in waiting for the teacher to choose him a partner, sitting rigidly and challengingly. If they wanted him to scramble, they weren't going to be satisfied.

He sat like that for one, maybe two minutes before a girl broke into his thoughts. He uncoiled immediately because he recognized her to a small extent. Pretty, brunette, and way outside of his small social circle. Brynn Reyes. He couldn't begin to explain what had drove her to choosing him besides sharing a few classes in the past but he wasn't about to argue with the only spot of luck that he'd experienced all day. It was better than waiting, it was better than being that kid.

"Can't say I have any better offers," he admitted, "Sounds good to me."

Archie was already bored, barely five minutes into the class. Discussing the morality of man, and how we stacked up against beings of a lesser intelligence, wasn't exactly his idea of a special class, let alone having to then break into groups in order to write some crappy message in a long-forgotten dialect he neither knew nor cared about. This was the kind of thing children did in history classes, although trade in Ogham for Egyptian Hieroglyphics. But still, this was a good opportunity for him to branch out and get to know some of his fellow students, away from Cara's smothering. Lifting his head from resting on the palm of his hand, Archie began to scour the room for potential group mates. It wasn't long before he noticed a girl staring right at him, offering him a place in her group. He was encaptivated by her immediately as he regarded just how pretty she was. Brynn was her name, Cara had elbowed him in the ribs when she'd caught him admiring her in the Main Quad at lunch.

Archie had to force himself to nod in response to her offer, his words escaping him momentarily before adding, "Sure thing. Beats waiting around, I guess."

Winter watched as Brynn managed to find a group rather quickly. Then again, Brynn did seem to have a way of always getting people to open up to her. She wondered if she would ever be like that. Hopefully once she went to college, she could start over. Start fresh and not have herself judged based on what teenagers considered popular. She turned to the group, assuming Brynn's careful glance at her was an invitation. After all, out of everyone in the room, Brynn was the only one she would call a friend.

"Hope you don't mind if I join too." It wasn't so much asking as it was a demand, but they did need to group up so people were bound to be dissapointed.

“Alright. Winter,” Brynn said, indicating her friend, “Ryan, Baron, and Archie.”

Figuring brief introductions would suffice for a class activity, Brynn turned her attention to the sheet that Jonas had handed out. Language and Celtic codes—the activity seemed more like one she'd find in history, but Brynn wasn't in charge of what the activity entailed; she was in charge of producing an encoded message for the other groups.

“Any suggestions for a message?” she asked, looking around the group. “And anyone want to volunteer to write the code?” As this was a group activity, Brynn couldn't immediately do everything, but if no one else volunteered, she'd have an excuse to do so—not that she wanted to.

Forcing a small smile and nod to the rest of the group in greeting, Ryan’s attention almost immediately seemed to turn away from them. It was deliberate, of course; for some reason mostly-ignoring people made her less worried she’d do something wrong by accident. Although she preferred not to let herself wonder why she’d be worried about that.

”I think I’d rather write the code.” She offered after a moment, partly because she didn’t mind languages, partly because it’d get her out of coming up with a message, but mostly because writing meant she’d have a good excuse to sit and look at the paper instead of anyone else around the table. Not that she couldn’t avoid eye contact anyway if she wanted, but one looked far weirder than the other and it was bad enough knowing she was already visibly nervous. ”If that’s fine with everyone.”

"We're probably going to have to choose a message that's school friendly, so, perhaps something in support of the Ravens?"

It was an easy enough suggestion and one that he could sit back and let them mull over. He wasn't nervous despite the social status that surrounded him currently. Baron was someone that flew by, people didn't love him but they didn't hate him. He was either the perpetually bored, quiet kid or the rebellious socialite and there was nothing in between. The people that hung around him ranged from being popular to being vastly unpopular. He knew most of the people in this group by face and by name, which made this infinitely easier to deal with.

"Or something about this class, I guess."

"What if we don't do that? Wouldn't that be too obvious? Make it somewhat harder to guess." It wasn't malicious in intent, it just seemed like this was supposed to be somewhat challenging. "If you wanna write it, by all means. I wouldn't know the first thing about doing this." Winter fought the urge to take out her phone and check it, considering what happened in Physics class, but she was also not super invested into this. She just didn't see how this all played into this class' goals.

Baron's pitch reminded Brynn of her volleyball game next Tuesday. However, Social Conscience was comprised of upperclassmen—individuals who'd already found a pattern of attendance for Mather Memorial's sporting events. While Brynn could expect to draw people like Aiden or Winter, most of the class consisted of people with few ties to the school's athletic department, so advertising would likely be a waste of effort on her part.

“Alright, you're on writing then, Ryan,” Brynn said when no one else volunteered. The nervous junior looked like she needed a good pep talk, but that was neither of Brynn's business nor interest. What was important was that the time-consuming part was accounted for; since there were no specific requirements for the actual message, there was little need to deliberate over it, though Brynn figured the discussion should continue for a few more minutes to keep up appearances.

“The hardest thing to decode would be a string of random letters or words, but Jonas said 'message,' so it probably has to make sense somehow,” Brynn said. While Winter had a point in that common phrases could be guessed without a complete decoding, thus defeating the purpose of the activity, it remained that the whole thing was just a small group activity for Social Conscience. Fall this year was especially busy, with schoolwork, volleyball, and college applications set to dominate Brynn's waking hours, so Social Conscience fell low on her list of priorities. As such, Brynn was content to let the rest of her group hash the details out; she'd step in if it seemed like they were dragging.

Ryan thought the question over, her gaze now firmly fixed on the paper. Ravens, something about ravens... it could work, she supposed. Ugh, was she being presumptuous by speaking up? She’d already said she’d write the code, after all. Maybe they didn’t want to listen, or at least not to her. But then again, there weren’t any other suggestions coming, and the sooner this got done the sooner she could withdraw again. Classwork was fine, she could do classwork, and the more useful she was here the less chance she’d have annoyed someone. Hopefully.

“Cría cuervos y te sacarán los ojos. The, um, literal translation is ‘raise ravens and they’ll peck out your eyes’.” She spoke quietly, barely raising her head to glance at the others before looking down again. Sure, the message probably had to be coherent, but no-one said it had to be in English. ”If you want something difficult, of course. It’s kind of relevant to the class, I guess - the gist of it is that taking care of bad people means they’ll stab you in the back.” Pausing for a second, she grimaced, continuing uncertainly. ”And I guess it technically includes ravens, although it’s... not exactly flattering.”

“Using another language is a good idea,” Brynn said, both impressed and slightly peeved: The idea of using a different language had escaped her, and though she wasn't surprised that it was the aspiring pre-med who thought of it, Brynn didn't enjoy being outdone. Still, this was precisely why she'd wanted Ryan in her group, so she could hardly complain. “The message is a bit off though. Anyone have another suggestion?”

Winter was paying attention, even if it didn't seem like it. She just wanted this over with so the class could end or they could be lectured. She hated being here when she had plenty of other electives she wanted that would look just as good, if not better, on college applications. "Another language is fine. Anyone know of one? I only took Spanish as an elective Freshman year, but I am not an expert in it."

"French, I know French, give me a phrase and I can give it back to you in French." Baron said boredly, seemingly absorbed in picking a bit of dirt from beneath his nail. "Anything to get this done with quicker."

He didn't really care much for his own contribution, which has been almost nothing, he was just wanting to get this done as quickly as possible. It wasn't like him to get active with groups and by the way this group seemed to be acting, it wasn't much like them either. So far it had been a collective of people mumbling unhelpfully at each other and the blond chick had even been so bold that she'd shot his idea down completely. The only helpful suggestion so far had come from the quiet girl, he believed that her name was Ryan. He had liked her suggestion though he understood the hesitancy to use something that had little bearing on teams or victory.

Nonetheless, he appreciated her input the most so far and it might give him a reason to use his vague knowledge of French.

“French sounds good. Onto the message then,” Brynn said as one of the other groups seemed to be finishing up. “We can always go with something in support of the Ravens.” Though Winter had a point with Baron's idea earlier, now that they were using a different language, the message would be harder to guess.

Ryan’s attention had been turned back to the desk for the past couple of minutes, listening without really contributing any more to the discussion. The fact that they’d actually taken her suggestion was a slight surprise; she tended to assume she’d get ignored by default. It didn’t need to be complicated anyway, there wasn’t much chance anyone would guess it straight out. French seemed fine. Everything was fine. Nothing to worry about.

She really wanted to get this over with. ”They do that chant, right? The, uh, black and blue thing. We could just translate that.”

“Everyone okay with that?” Brynn asked. If anything, she was glad that the class would be pretty much over after the presentations. Group activities had a way of sucking up time, and though Brynn usually loathed them, she figured that Social Conscience needed all the filler it could get.

Winter looked it over. She nodded her approval. it was done. They could turn it in now. Finally. Maybe this class can end early and she could leave. Maybe visit the mall or check when Cheerleader practice was.

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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Lasrever
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RYAN MENDOZA

M A T H E R M E M O R I A L H I G H S C H O O L:

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 - 02:52pm | The 'Loft'

At the sound of the scream, Ryan had frozen, eyes wide as she watched Mr Lehrer run out of the room. That scream hadn’t been angry. She’d heard angry before, but that was different; more real. Terror, but even more than that…

They sounded hurt.

If Mr. Lehrer hadn’t told them to stay in their seats, the thought of doing the opposite would never have even occurred to her. But even that direction had at least gotten her thinking about a course of action, snapped her out of the rabbit-in-headlights panic that had kept her rooted in her seat.

Her hands gripped the edge of the table, looking down at it with gritted teeth as she tried to get her thoughts together, grasping at anything she could make sense of. It helped to focus on things, something mundane and simple and not at all unusual. Particleboard underneath the laminate, cheap but durable enough to last several years. Frame, what was the frame, steel - not the most durable, but steel. Probably. She was only guessing, but she was pretty sure it was right.

You just learned how to tell, she supposed. And it wasn’t exactly a masterstroke to figure that out when the desk wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. There wasn’t much interesting about it, the way the parts all fixed together. The desks were all the same here. Bought in bulk, probably, nice and cheap. Simple.

It all made sense.

It was fine.

Deep breaths, quiet, going over memories of people she’d spoken to before. Volunteering, things being put together. A doctor, a stern man, who’d called her sharp-witted and yet always seemingly regarded her with a faint air of disappointment. On his break, looking at her with a coffee in his hand - black, nothing added - with a sigh and a shake of the head.

“You’d do damn well for yourself if you took a little initiative, Mendoza.”

Advice she hadn’t known how to make sense of. Wasn’t it easier to wait? To make sure you didn’t annoy anyone? There were so many ways that taking action could go wrong when you weren’t certain it was the right one.

But they’d sounded hurt. Maybe she could help, but Mr. Lehrer probably knew how to fix it. Probably. That was the sticking point, a word she couldn’t put as much faith into as she wanted. Probably, maybe, but maybe not as well and that was enough to keep her in her seat. He’d told them to stay there, and she didn’t want to get in trouble by running outside first.

What else was there? The pass card, a better distraction. She picked it up, turning it over in her hand. Plastic. No, there was more to it, maybe, if she could make sense of how it worked--

Her head was starting to hurt, so she put it down with a wince.

Needed to get better at that. Maybe she could ask someone for advice; there’d be someone around who knew how to figure stuff out. A trick to it, probably, there was always a trick. Funny how she’d never found anything online; she supposed maybe it was one of those things you were just supposed to ‘get’. There were a lot of those, and they never got less irritating over time. She liked having a method, a set of steps, directions.

But this was wrong. After a cry filled with so much pain, fear, agony… her voice came as a murmur.

“It shouldn’t be so quiet.” She looked over to the door and spoke from what little experience she had. Hearing the wailing in person was so very different from video and impersonal research, of course. More harrowing in the way it cut through the air. But somehow, it would have been reassuring in its own way, at least when compared with the eerie silence that followed it. A frown was firmly etched across Ryan's features as she finally came to a decision after far too much deliberation. “Not after that kind of scream.”

Tentatively, she got to her feet, glancing around the room. If someone needed help, maybe she could do a little. It wasn’t as if she was trying to break the rules, but if she wanted to be a doctor then helping people was what she was supposed to do. Supposed to. For some reason that thought had always been the one to drive her. What she wanted didn’t matter.

It never really had, had it?

So she reached the door and hesitantly exited the room, trying not to look at any of her classmates. If she got to the end and her help wasn’t needed, then she could just slip back into the classroom and hope no-one mentioned her leaving.

Making an effort to move as quietly as possible, she headed in the direction Mr. Lehrer had gone, making her way outside. That seemed to be the right direction, didn’t it? If not, she could always head back. She could still head back now. What if she got in trouble? Any problems and her parents would kill her.

But she walked, quiet, trying not to draw any attention as she opened the door to the faint sound of somebody crying.

And as she turned to behold the scene, her eyes widened and she froze stock-still, looking at the protrusion that could only have been the source of the initial scream. No doubt Mr. Lehrer would have heard her quiet exclamation, looking over the scene in quiet but curious horror. God, what was she supposed to do here? Of course she should have stayed; seeing as she’d given her presence away, she was guaranteed to have gotten herself into trouble.

She’d been stupid, hadn’t she? There was no fixing this, no way to make it better. Of course she’d expected something bad, but she’d braced herself for gore, broken bones and torn flesh. It was supposed to be something she could do something about. They weren’t supposed to be already dead. People weren't supposed to turn to stone.

“I-- I’m sorry.” Apologising to Mr. Lehrer for following, to the sobbing girl for not knowing what to do, to the statue for not having any way to fix this. Disconnected, detached, heart pounding in her ears. Had to close herself off, be numb to it, but she couldn’t. It was too real, too unfamiliar, nothing like the things she’d let herself get desensitised to. It wasn’t an accident, wasn’t a mistake. This was a murder scene, plain and simple.

Sebastian Scott had been killed by a hype, that was what they’d all been saying. And now, looking at this girl, even if she was jumping to conclusions...

Ryan couldn't shake the feeling that he had only been the start.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Prosaic
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Prosaic Local Ghost

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Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 - The Loft


After finishing up with his group, he was comfortable in knowing that he'd done something productive. While he wasn't a master of the language, he was decent at French and he had translated their selection with ease. The people in his group hadn't been too hard to work with, even if he'd been bored before they even started. That wasn't their fault, he just tended to revert back into his slacker ways when assignments were put in front of him. They had done good though, he was confident that it wouldn't be easy to decipher their code without a grasp on French.

He was relaxing and waiting when the scream happened. The scream jarred him, shaking him up enough that he looked up and immediately started gazing at the door. He didn't know how he was supposed to react, he just knew that he was quickly starting to feel unsafe. Screaming meant that there was danger and danger meant that he needed to get as far away from this as he possibly could. He was about to get to his feet and bolt, stopped only by the teacher's voice telling them to remain seated. It took a lot of self-restraint not to ask Mr. Lehrer if he thought it was somehow smarter to stay here and die than to run like hell.

That was Baron's first instinct when it came to dangerous situations, to run away from them. Now, he was stuck here and he was very unhappy about it. Something unpleasant was thrumming through him, setting him alight with fear and anxiety. If someone was hurt outside of this loft, did that mean that he was destined to be hurt as well? That scream had sounded so raw, it wasn't staged and it wasn't planned. It was truly terrified. It made him feel horrible inside, it made him feel caged.

He tried to focus, mapping out exit plans, just in case this turned into a crisis scenario. He had to know where all of his escape routes were. Maybe he should have been brave, like the brunette girl that had been on his team. She was taking off after the teacher as if there was something more that she could do to help. He didn't want to get up unless he was leaving completely, he didn't want to go chase down some phantom killer or to see whatever carnage awaited him outside the loft. He didn't want to help.

Baron O'Neil was a coward, he wasn't virtuous or brave, he was a coward. He knew and he accepted that, he had no delusions of being heroic. He just wanted to get through the first day of school without being injured or maimed, he didn't think that was so much to ask for. His birthday was coming up soon and the best gift of all would to not be dead on it. He was biting his nails with anxiety as he waited for something to come up those stairs.

None of his skills prepared him for bad situations, he couldn't pirouette past a serial killer. Well, he could but it would be very a stupid idea. So, he waited, watching and counting the seconds.
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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Stein
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Stein That's Queen Stein, thank you.

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Kae shouldered her bag, gripping the straps until her knuckles bulged. To keep the from twitching from ill-timed laughter, she worked her lips into a wry smile and gave a quick nod at Mr. Jonas’ assignment. Walking down the aisle of the classroom, it was moments like this that she dreaded. Like walking through waist-deep water layered with sand. Each second exacerbated by fears or anxiety. Giving more credence and weight to the eyes of her new classmates.

Mikaela had found early in life, it’s harder to be disappointed if you expect little from your surroundings. If you look for the undercurrent in the stream. She learned there was always a caveat, conceit or reverse-side to situations in this world. Those things aren’t always negative or malicious. However, it’s good to always expect a punch, jab or swipe from life. Kae started to develop the habit, years ago, of slightly relishing in the pain of disappointment. Relishing in the pain of being proven right for withholding being invested or committed to anything. A schadenfreude from the bayou ghettos. She tried her best to keep her eyes from resting on anyone too long. Kae was infamous for her resting bitch face and she had promised her aunt to do her best. Put her best foot forward, a smile in the pocket and all that jazz. It was difficult, though. Especially when she felt so…”surrounded.” She passed a girl with hair like red like a blood moon giving her own face of being completely over her current company and Kae had to work to stave off her own bitch face from creeping up. As everyone knows, like yawns, bitch facing is a reflective habit.

She smirked a little at her warped and self-deprecating humor. It got the best of her briefly and she tried to play it off as a full on smile to a random person in the class as she did a quick once-over the room before nearing the group Mr. Jonas had indicated. She gave them a general wave before introducing herself. “Hi, sorry. This is my first day and…well you know, a lot to process and all that.” She tucked one of her locks back into the up-do she had put them in. “I’m Mikaela, Mikaela Maven. Y’all mind if I sit?”

She wasn’t given much time to familiarize herself with her classmates before the scream cut through the room. A cleaver splitting through the slab of meat that was the mundanity of their class. Her body instantly tensed, and her eyes began to plot exit routes. “That wasn’t any normal scream, was it?” she asked her group. Hearing a chair scrape, she turned to see Mr. Jonas heading to the door.

She probably shouldn’t have done so, but she quietly got up as he left, caught the door behind him before it closed. That was the scream of someone who had found something they didn’t want to see. Something they would never be able to forget. She knew that scream because she’d produced that scream herself. Maybe that’s what drew her down the hallway full of students peering down the way. Whispers hushed by teachers and a few demands for them to get back in their seats.

Kae caught her breath, felt her chest constrict as she came up on the scene. How did she describe it? What was it? It looked like someone trapped

“…in the wall?” she whispered to herself, standing in growing crowd of students.
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