Hidden 4 mos ago Post by NuttsnBolts
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NuttsnBolts Keeper of Keys

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The sound of a scrawling pen cut through the sleepy silence of the eatery — scratching, scaring, and scoring its mark onto the pages of a very old and archaic notebook. It was too early in the to be this dedicated to such a traditional craft, and yet this author was more awake, more active, than the many other souls who happened to drag their zombie expressions through the front door.

It wasn't until a ceramic mug was placed beside the gentleman that his obsessive actions came to an abrupt halt. The aroma of coffee filling his nostrils and the sight out of the corner of his eye of hot steam dancing above the rim, they were enough to break him out of his trance. He was on the verge of offering a token of thanks when it was apparent how this one particular individual was attempting to read over his shoulder.

“I would prefer if you were not to read what was not addressed to you,” cold and calculating in his words. Mathias brushed his left hand over the notebook, shielding its secrets. A faint sight of leathered fingers entered, littered in stains blood and dirt — to whose it was, only he would know.

Perhaps his words were not firm enough as the doctor felt unsatisfied with his level of solitude. There was a still feeling of someone spying over his shoulder, a feeling that lingered on beyond what he believed was welcoming.

“If there is nothing else...” he turned his face to eye the worker, sporting a subtle tone of aggression in his voice — but he was met with empty still air.

* * * * *

Outside however a coach had pulled into Briar Hill, a stopover on the journey to another city. Its steel chassis rolling up to the curb opposite the Briar Hill Inn, advertisement splashed across the side with the words of Eastern American Adventures. Within its shell a voice from inside called out to its snap-happy passengers, murmurings of something along the lines of how little time they would be spending here — but there was one passenger who wasn't interested, instead choosing to separate herself from the camera loving pack.

She left the proximity of the group, crossing the lonely street blanketed in fog to enter the inn — her footsteps padding on the ground in determined fearlessness. A single chime as the door swung open, a reverberation of déjà vu as the same door return shut, and she leaned onto the counter, waiting for someone to tend to her needs.

No answer…

The young woman leaned over the counter to peer into the hallway abyss, curious to what signs of life she may uncover. From the trail of dust and dirt lining the timber oak surfaces, she began to wonder how many workers actually approached the front counter when the door chime beckoned. In her look of confusion she reeled herself back into an upright position and surveyed the adjoining rooms, her eyes crossing with a dark set of round glasses who had been observing her the moment she entered.

It was a passing gaze that lasted a fraction of a second as the glasses. Turned to face the outside, milky world. Satisfied with the reality that perhaps she would not get the service she hoped for she muttered a line under her own breath.

“Veni venias ad me satis,” a whispering tune.

With great haste a key from the pegboard far behind the counter soared through the air and landed in her open palm, a monetary exchange of crumpled paper laid on the table for whoever may eventually return. She would plan to return later and inform Reservation properly about her stay, but for now a note signed with her name would have to suffice.

Room 5, Sienna Kinley
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Voltus_Ventus
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Voltus_Ventus The Voltusiest Ventus

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The morning sun came white and early, through the fog that rested over Briar Valley County. Birds darted from pine to tall pine, and the trees cut sunlight into misty, shafts. It was silent, undisturbed, and despite the brumous air, pleasant. A downy woodpecker carried out its namesake, the staccato of its rapping echoing through the canopy, accompanied by the sound of feet disturbing dirt as they walked. Bob stood at the foot of a tree, a great pine, the earth around it stunk and was water-logged, root-rot had unfortunately made itself at home in the tree. Looking up its trunk, he spotted the woodpecker and silently reached for the front pocket of his flannel shirt, slipping his hand under his jacket he produced a skinny book: "Birds of New England: A Birdwatcher's Complete Guide to New England's Boreal Fowl." Drawing a pencil from within the pages, he flicked through before checking the box for the Downy Woodpecker.

He had come home from work, exhausted as per usual, but none the less satisfied. He had managed to offload some old IBMs to a chain of gas-stations that operated in that part of New-England, convincing them it would make keeping track of their pump levels and backroom stocks a simpler and speedier affair. And it would, but maybe not for the first few weeks. But throwing in a machine for the manager's wife, free of charge, was no small part in swaying the otherwise reluctant manager. Closing the door behind him, Bob hung up his jacket and tie, before heading over to the kitchen and opening the fridge, peering inside. As he pulled the door open, however, a faint groaning sound tickled the inside of his ear. He ruffled his brows and tried the door once again, swinging it from side to side to see if it was the work of the hinges. Shrugging, he withdrew a soda from the fridge and slammed the fridge shut. As he turned away Bob heard the sound of rushing air, and just as suddenly the ceiling collapsed. The trunk of a pine crashed downwards towards him, crushing him against the ground and impaling him with its branches. He lay there twitching for a few, feeling his beard soak from the growing puddle of vital fluid, before his face became lax and his eyes expressionless.

Bob blinked up at the tree, giving it a few more moments as he enjoyed the cool mist on his face, before picking up the axe that leaned against his leg. He wandered over to the other side of the tree, the side that faced away from his home, and marked with his axe a line about stomach hip level on the trunk. With his first swing, the axe embedded itself deeply, shaking the length of the tree and causing surrounding birds to flee with a flurry of flapping. Drawing his axe from the wood he proceeded to chop down the tree, it was a shame, but he would have rather had it fell anywhere than him. After almost an hour, of un-intensive chopping, the pine groaned in a familiar key, as it listed to the side. Bob had vacated the vicinity upon the first sign that the tree was going to tip, and from a safe distance watched the trunk tear away from the stump as it crashed to the ground. He stood there for a few moments longer, leaning on his axe as the dust settled and the sound of birds returned. He let the axe fall away as he turned around and returned home.

Reminding himself to bring the extra fancy pamphlets, to impress the manager's wife.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by NightMind
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NightMind

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Now you're under control, now you do what they told ya! Now you're under control, now you do what they told ya! Now you're under control, now you do what they to-- A well timed bump on the sullen countryside road was enough to bring the girl out of her stupor, and apparently make her Discman skip. She shook the device gently, her meek attempt at repairing it with seemingly no result. With that, she slid it back in her bag and kicked her feet up on the passengers dashboard of the cab. This visibly irked the driver somewhat.

"Miss, I really don't want to ask you to keep your feet down but you're kind of giving me no choice here." He mentioned while trying to keep his eyes on the road.

"Chill out man, I'll pay for the upholstery on the thing if you've got a problem with it." Her neck craned to the side, looking at the dash as her large combat boots scuffed the siding."I'm already stressed out enough so just get me to the damn place and I'll double the fare, capice?" Digging her heel even deeper into the dash.

"Hey now! Treat the man with a little dignity girl! I mean, I'd like nothing more than to gut the little piggy myself but you're just being rude! Heh heh." The biting voice chortled, having to get its two cents in like always. "Besides, this trip is pointless, I don't know what you're expecting to find but I can promise it-"

"Shut it!" An annoyed Cassidy muttered, cutting the voice off.

"Miss?" The portly gentleman asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I'll triple it, just get me to the town!" She shouted, deflecting her previous outburst.

"Oh! Um, yes ma'am!" He shouted back, excited at the prospect of the already sizable bill being tripled. "We'll be outside of Brior Hill in just a few minutes!" Reinvigorated, the driver stepped on the gas, darting toward their final destination.

Cassidy leaned back again, trying to keep her mind active, knowing that idleness would leave her vulnerable. She went back to her bag, retrieving one of her notepads and pens as she began to scribbled down some words. It wasn't anything particularly momentous yet but every single song of hers had to start somewhere. "Gut..the..little piggy-" She whispered under her breath as she wrote the phrase out, confident that she could find a place for it in her lyrics.

Religion had always seemed like the obvious catalyst to remove such a dark and hateful being but even the men of the cloth were baffled by the presence that refused to leave. Years of ritualistic exorcisms had proved fruitless, which the acts themselves were nearly impossible to hide from the public eye. Tabloids had reported, "Rocker Cassidy Kane attempts to talk with dead ex boyfriend." or other similarly trashy stories. That didn't deter her search but it did reveal more options. The operative one being Brior Hill. The claims were far from substantiated but they were numerous enough to peak the girls interest at the very least.

"Here it is, Brior Hill. Hurry up please, I don't want to get lost in this place." Quickly pulling the parking brake.

The sight out the window had only just been a bleak forest county, sprawling with tall pines to hide dark secrets. The actual town itself had appeared from the foggy exterior, slowly revealing itself to the pair just as the car settled. Cassidy watched cautiously out the window before turning to the man.

"I told you to take me to the hotel!" She said through her gritted bite, gesturing toward the foggy exterior in front of them.

"Miss, its right there." He pointed at the building that progressively became more and more noticeable as the fog danced away. "Please just get your crap and give me my money so I can get out of this hellhole!" It seemed as if the driver had finally found his voice.

Cassidy winced, wondering why the man wanted to leave so badly. "Sure, just help me with my luggage please." She stated bluntly, no hint of nuance in her voice.

The driver hopped out for a moment, retrieving his patrons luggage and setting it on the stoop of the hotel. "Now, payment." He held his hand with a flat open palm, waiting for the cash.

"yeah, yeah, here." Grabbing her bag, she pulled out a bank envelope and tossed it to him. Knowing full and well that the contents were more than enough to satisfy the man. "Should be plenty there. See ya."

As soon as the envelope was in his hand he started leaving, peeling off away from the sleepy town. Cassidy looked up, noting the structure as she carried two of her bags inside.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Stitches
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Stitches

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Brooks slowed down as they neared the inn, pulling up behind a parked tour bus. His face turned quizzical as this wasn’t an ordinary sight in briar hill. “Probably stopping on their way, them.” He thought out loud. Abigail groaned with frustration.

“They're going to be a pain in the ass to deal with, if that bus is full. I dunno if we even got the staff to deal with them,” she unbuckled her seatbelt and made her way into the lobby, taking a cursory glance at the emptiness. It was weird that nobody was manning the front desk, but weird things happened all the time in Briar Hill, and it was definitely none of her business. She was already pulling cushions off the soft furnishings in her bid to find that notebook by the time Brooks had plodded into the threshold, completely unphased by her frantic demeanor, watching her impassively near the front entrance. “It's not here!” She cried, launching herself behind the front desk and shamelessly rummaging through the files.

“Well you don't do the reception desk all the time, do you?” Brooks drawled, gingerly lowering himself into a seat with a grunt. Abigail’s head popped up from behind the desk whereupon she noticed the note and the cash. Her face crumpled up with disdain as she snatched the money and pocketed the note.

“Fucking tourists,” grumbled Abigail. “Who in their right mind would help themselves to a room? Anyway, the staff would have put anything lost in reception. I'll check the bar after this, hopefully it'll be easy enough to find it there, then we don't have to worry about trawling round the kitchens.” She resumed her search above the desk, leafing through the books in time hopes that one of them is concealing the precious notepad she is searching for.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Polyphemus
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Polyphemus Bad Enough Dude

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The clerk at the convenience store on the turnpike had been one of them. A pile of wriggling, glistening worms, stacked in the rough shape of a man and squeezed into a yellow polyester polo shirt with a nametag proclaiming the pile of worms to be named Brian. Edward Donahue could make out the overskin at the same time, like two films projected on top of one another. Brian masqueraded as a friendly-faced man in his mid-twenties, and that was the facade Donahue made sure to react to. His mother had told him it was rude to stare, and Donahue didn't want to find out what happened if the pile of worms that called itself Brian realized it had been made. So he grunted a few banal pleasantries and made sure not to make contact with Brian's slithering and oozing hands while taking back his change for the pint bottle of Absolut vodka.

Even now, a few hours later, Donahue couldn't shake the image of those countless worms, crawling over one another and leaving trails of slime even as they formed lips and ears and fingers. It was far from the worst thing he had ever seen but it wasn't terribly fun either. He absently cleared his throat, straightened his cheap Van Heusen tie, pulled his shirt cuff over the weird little birthmark on his wrist, checked his whereabouts once again. The diner at the Brier Hill Inn was nothing special, clearly a shadow of what it had once been.. Neither was the coffee he was pounding back. But it seemed like the place to start his surveillance job.

Keeping a watchful but inconspicuous eye from behind the newspaper he was only pretending to read, Donahue mentally reviewed the case notes. Charles Sandrelli, forty-five. Agricultural supplies sales rep. His wife knew he made frequent and seemingly unnecessary stops in Brier Hill during his business trips, she wanted grounds for a divorce and suspected ol' Chuck had a girlfriend tucked away up here. Or maybe a boyfriend, Donahue idly speculated. Not that it mattered, he was a Nineties guy. Just another philandering husband, another paycheck, another podunk little town, another few hours before he clocked off and went back to his room to anesthetize himself with Swedish vodka and basic cable in an effort to forget about Brian back on the turnpike and his throbbing face made of worms.

And so Donahue sat in the diner, drinking coffee, staring at a newspaper, keeping an eye out for Sandrelli so that he might follow him.

Just a few more hours before his retainer of billable hours ran out for the day and he could feel the sweet blessed relief of the vodka, still in its brown paper bag in his room. Donahue could hardly wait.
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