Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by HeySeuss
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HeySeuss DJ Hot Carl

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### October, 2013 _"Washington DC was rocked with another protest by Emergent Rights protesters outnumbered by counter-protesters sponsored by the American Anti-Witchcraft League. Capitol Police were forced to intervene with tear gas. Both sides are blaming the other for starting the violence..."_ Brian clicked off the TV behind the bar to something else. ESPN was still safe enough even in these time, and John had a thing for European soccer that Brian would never understand that meant that the Water of Life had things like the Premier League and all that other crap in addition to the more conventional sports stuff that tended to be the traditional fare of Haye; it was Central PA, and the town was full of Pittsburgh Steelers fans with a smattering of Eagles guys. College ball mattered. Hell, all football mattered. Even in a bar like the Water of Life, where some of the clientele was a little more upscale than typical for Haye, more liberal, everyone managed to find common cause in fanatical sports support. It was, until recently, the most popular local religion. And it was easy to understand why some people stuck their heads in the sand and stuck to it. The bar was nicely done, with some local art pieces on display by locals that did sculpture and painting inspired by the life out here; mountains, steelworking, coal mining and the general cultural heritage of working class Pennsylvania. But as a departure from an ode to mass production, the place had polished hardwood for floors and the bar, which even had a recycled antique brass footrail and fittings, and used wood for most other things -- one simply did not find aluminum in the Water of Life, except in the form of beer cans. The furniture was made locally by artisans trying to recapture the craftsmanship of an earlier day of hand-carving and design and did not match on purpose. None of entirely matched but all of it gleamed with polish, and yet it all fit. Lots of dark hardwood and soft lighting made it a place of welcoming comfort, the impression of warmth. A small lounge area with plush armchairs and small tables, where people could either work or read while enjoying their drinks, gave the impression that it wanted people to stay for a spell, rather than simply buy and move on. The Water of Life was might have wound up being a hipster bar if it weren't in a place like Haye. Brian didn't go with the beard and the fedora and the v-neck sweaters; he preferred a warm Henley that kept his arms covered up. Somehow, though, that girl saw right through the attempt to cover up the tattoos, ever-changing since sometime around this month last year, and the way he'd shaved his head to keep the white streak in his hair out of vision. There were Covenant of Light types running around the town at all times; his sister was one of them. John was on bad terms with Jenny as a result, but Brian played the traditional middle brother role -- he was the quiet one. He still got calls on his cell phone once in a while where his own sister, unwittingly, would fill his ear full of the rhetoric of the Oh-So-Holy Gary Miller, the loudest sheeple-herder in town, but he tried to keep them as short as possible -- always an excuse. She wasn't stupid by a long shot, but she was vain, and it would have pissed her off to realize that her brother didn't want to take a keen interest in her shit. That was going against the grain of her life. Brian sort of naturally fell in with John and Sheriff Mark Luntz and the other liberal elements of the town; John was there because he secretly loved the idea of magic, spirits and dragons, which was a dangerous view to openly express, and the Sheriff was there because he felt it was best to approach every problem with a cool head and a calm demeanor, which didn't gratify the people screaming for action -NOW-. John ran into trouble, his business did, a couple of times, but after Brian cooled the situation – he was good at cooling people and at least one of those three guys was smart enough to know that Johnny Parr's ex-US Marshall brother was not to be fucked with, and decided to back off. Still, wanting to avoid an encore, he made a call to Jenny and told her what was going on. It was a calm solution that kept the peace between the Sheriff and the Haye Church of the Covenant of Life. Jenny was close to Pastor Gary Miller, and the harassment stopped with a sermon. Brian hated the fucking deception though. The acidic fear that chewed up his stomach everytime he stopped moving and sat down to think. It was why his apartment was so thoroughly renovated and he still had a long list of projects to do, keeping himself so busy that he wouldn't sort this thing out. That's what he was doing here on a slow Monday morning in Haye, at the Water of Life, managing the place's one or two customers while cleaning, while Diane the waitress fucked around on her smartphone in the back with the short order breakfast cook. That Emelina Ward girl approached him, the one that worked at the bookstore two doors down, and somehow saw through the covering of his tattoos and the shaving of his head. How he'd gotten roped into the whole thing, he wasn't sure, but now it was like a secret club meeting in the place. John would have been pissed if he knew, if only because he wasn't invited. It was ironic that Brian was the one that was an Emergent, when John was the one that always dreamed of fairies, dragons and orcs, read Tolkien and loved to play D&D. Hell, Brian covered at the Water of Life on Tuesday evenings so John could make his game with other like minded nerds. Even worse, was the club feel. But if the people that hated them were organizing, it made sense that Emergents needed to stick together, and in secret. It was necessary thanks to the Dunn Act that stripped all Emergents of their Constitutional rights, the rationale being that they weren't human beings and therefore not entitled, as soon as they were identified. The first one came in the door, and he greeted them, rag in hand as he polished the furniture out of sheer boredom, with a contrived and corny line. His stomach was still a fucking ball of acid, even though he'd consumed three tums this morning already, but he came across as calm enough for the public. These days, it was life and death to seem serene. In any case, one of the arrivals was here, so he tried to put on his best bartender demeanor and act natural, **"Good morning, can I get you anything?"**
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by FernStone
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FernStone Scottish Pepsi Max Addict

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**"So you're asking me to cover for you the whole morning?"** **"Not the whole morning, unless things go on longer than I expect them to,"** Emelina responded to her brother, folding her arms with a frown. It had been easy enough to come up with a lie, an excuse, to feed to him so he would cover for her. It wasn't like the store was busy and require two of them at the front. He had quite happily believed that she was meeting with some friends from college who were just popping by. As if that would truly happen in such times. But her brother had always been a bit of an idiot. And she was a particularly good liar. **"I'll repay you in some way."** As much as it pained her to say that. **"You better,"** Theodore grinned. Eli narrowed her eyes slightly as the particularly annoying bright orange that hung around him got slightly more visible. She really needed to invest in some more expensive sunglasses. These were good enough for now but the swarm of colours that seemed to come with each human being had a bad habit of making themselves seen even when she wore the sunglasses. **"Well, I guess I'll do that for you. But if you get caught I'm not going to help you get out of that one."** **"I wouldn't expect you to. Believe me, mother isn't going to find out about this,"** Eli gave a slight nod at that. **"Well, I'll leave you too it. I'm sure you'll be able to cope with the crowds queuing to buy what we have on offer."** **"I will if I must, but it will be difficult alone!"** Theodore replied, clutching a hand to his heart dramatically as he moved behind the counter. Eli merely offered an unamused snort as she began to head out of the shop. It was quite nice to leave and get away from the small space where books lined every wall. It wasn't that she had anything against books merely that seeing them every day but Sunday tending to get a bit old. Then again, at least it was normally quiet. The lack of people was a nice break for her eyes and brain. The annoying ability to constantly see the colours that somehow represented people, at least she thought they did, had come in handy however. Being able to notice other Emergents was certainly rather useful. After all groups were much more likely to survive if everything went downhill. And the one thing she put above everything was her own survival. It had taken her a while to work out what the extra layer that clung to some people like a second skin, well more like a fourth or fifth, was. The extra brightness had been off putting but enough to increase her curiosity. With a little more investigation she had managed to put everything together and worked out what that meant. Well at least what its presence meant. She was yet to make any sense of the jumble of colours. She knew that each colour meant something and that each layer of it meant something but she didn't know what. It was rather frustrating. Eli did not like not knowing. She was confident in her ability to work it out, it just seemed like it could take quite a while. It was more of a nuisance than a benefit at the moment. The Water of Life was only two doors away, quite a short walk, and she was sure she was likely to be early. That was something she was perfectly fine with. It would give her time to observe each person as they entered, trying to learn more about them even if she had already met each one. She had, after all, been the person to organise this little covert gathering. Of course that was purely due to the nature of her abilities and the fact it allowed her to see whether they were Emergent, or not. As she entered the bar Eli lowered her sunglasses for just a moment. A quick glance around told her that she was the first to arrive due to the only one blinding aura belonging to the bartender. Brian she believed his name was. Something like that. She quickly pushed back up the sunglasses so they covered her eyes. There was only so much she could take, even when there were only a few people. She turned to face Brian, forcing a slight smile to cross her lips. **"A lemonade, please, but nothing else. Merely something to drink while I wait."** She could only look at him so long, even with her eyes shaded, and thus averted her gaze. The colours that surrounded him were difficult to describe as they constantly shifted and clashed with each other. She was sure she had caught a soft blue in there among many other, vibrant colours. It was all very curious but unimportant, as she had no idea what any of it meant.
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Necrophage
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Today was a bad day. For a normal person a bad day would be a depressing one. Maybe they got fired? Maybe they were in an aggravating fight with a significant other? Kurt couldn't count himself normal anymore. Hell! He couldn't even say if he was truly human anymore either. Some people are overcome by lust, self indulgence, a vice that shames them and depresses them. Today Kurt lived a nightmare all his own. Decrepit and maddened visages roamed the town. They were looking for something as if they were sensing something coming that he could not. Kurt stepped along the sidewalk acting like he couldn't see them. He'd learned that only some particularly astute spirits were actually aware he could see them. He knew none of their names and feared them. Kurt sighed out of frustration. He was to meet a lady named Emelina Ward and her friends today. He had always loved to enjoy a good book even when they put him to sleep, which was not seldom. Emelina ran a bookstore in the midst of town which often had series of his favorite books as soon as they were released. It was on a visit to purchase a book that she discovered him. Kurt's initial thought was, 'Oh crap she's got to be with the government!'. Scary to think there was a giant organization that once rose for true justice and the people but now was seemingly thrown about on the whims of men in power who thought they could do better than hundreds of millions of people. Kurt was not about to surrender himself to the whims of someone who couldn't possibly know what he was going through nor had in best interests at heart. Of course that seemed true until he spoke with her a little more to confirm his suspicions. There were others out there. It was time to make friends. Time to find a real haven. Kurt paused on the sidewalk to look at the door to the Water of Life. He'd never drunken any alcohol nor did he intend to, so it was a little uncomfortable to enter a building where people made light of that. He shrugged it off and pushed the door open. There was a jingle as an object placed on the door handle to alert the staff shook. "Good morning, can I get you anything?" The bartender seemed to state more than ask. Kurt shook his head, "Nah, I'm good. Thanks though. I'm here to see someone." He peered around at the inhabitants seated throughout the room, spotted Emelina and took a seat close to her. He started to speak quietly. "So, Emelina, how are you today? How many are we expecting?"
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Rinnee
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In all her years, Sydney couldn't place another time she had ever been so indecisive. Unsuccessfully attempting to build up her confidence and walk into the Water of Life bar, she had been sitting in her car for the past hour watching everyone go in an out the small building from across the street. This was where she was supposed to meet Emelina, and soon the other Emergents of Haye. It was comforting to think that there were others in town like her, but that still didn't shake the idea that this could all be a trap. Emelina was ultimately a stranger, a girl she had never met or spoken to before. She could be anyone really, and putting this amount of trust into stranger just didn't sit well with Sydney. Of course, she didn't think the government would send a _spy_ to work at a bookstore, but it didn't hurt to be cautious. However since returning to Haye that's all she had been doing. Staying cautious around her family. Cautious around her friends, and everyone from church or town. She had successfully hidden her deformities away from her community, only to have that sense of safety crushed by a person she had never met. It was terrifying, and unsettling, and if she recalled right she just about had a panic attack in the middle of the store when she had been outed. Secrets make you sick, as her mother had always said, but nothing had ever made her more nauseous and scared then that day. Before anything escalated past hyperventilating, Emelina had explained that she too was an Emergent, and that she was searching for others in town who were facing through the same changes. Calming her down at the time, this unfortunately lead to the anxiety Sydney was struggling with now. Turning her gaze from the bar to the sidewalk beside her, the red head cringed as she awkwardly made eye contact with a random person. '_I probably look like a creep sitting here.._' Shrinking into her seat at the thought, the large frown on her lips soon shifted into pout. It was time to get out of the car, and face Emelina and the other Emergents--that or get arrested. Nothing would reassure her anxiety more then the truth, so with a small sigh the red head kicked open the car door and scurried across the street to the bar door. Truthfully all she wanted to do was go back home and return to her room, but even she understood her isolation was getting out of control. "Come on Syd, you got this." She said to herself. In such dangerous times there was safety in numbers, not to mention she hadn't spoken to another person--besides her parents--in weeks. This was a good thing, Sydney reminded herself. She _needed_ this. So with a deep breath in to settle her nerves, she finally stepped through the door. The calming silence of the bar forced Sydney to fidget in her spot as she stood before the door. Hazel eyes flickered from person to person, desperately seeking out Emelina until she found her sitting at a table with a man. Swallowing nervously, and forcing herself to walk towards the two, Sydney hesitantly raised a gloved hand and waved. "S-sorry I'm late."
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by shivershiver
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shivershiver Supreme Chancellor Skelly

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Despite all of Oskar’s precautions, the screen door slammed against the wooden door frame before clicking shut, a familiar sound for Max, his three year old Leonberger. The massive dog scrambled up from his bed in the kitchen and ran to the door just in time to see his master walking away. With a sharp bark, however, he quickly gained Oskar’s attention. The man released a deep sigh, slowly turning around and kneeling down to the dog’s level, the screen separating the two. Max scratched eagerly at the mesh with his massive paws, tongue lolling, which provoked a chuckle from Oskar. “**Sorry friend, but I don’t think pubs here let dogs in**,” he spoke to his companion in German, the language he was trained in, as if the animal would understand it more than English. Max cocked his head in confusion. “**No, not even you. Stay here and hold the fort down, I’ll be back soon.**” Oskar turned his back on his furry friend, who let out a brief whimper as he watched his master walk out of sight. Ever since they met beneath the Watzmann, a mountain in Germany, the two were almost inseparable; Oskar took him on all his assignments, and found comfort knowing he had a friend no matter where he went. Now was one of the few occasions he was forced to abandon Max, and it wasn’t very easy for either of them. Oskar reached the small garage adjacent to his brother’s house, where two cars and a covered motorcycle sat in silence. He tore off the oil-stained sheet and tossed it aside, briefly taking a moment to admire the revealed machine. Once Oskar realized he’d be stuck in America for a while, he bought the first thing with a motor and wheels he could find, which ended up to be a rusted black 1970 BMW R75/5. The journalist always wanted a motorcycle, but with his work taking him all over the globe, lugging a vehicle around wasn't very practical; taxis always did the job just fine. In his spare time, which Oskar had a lot of given his almost fugitive status, he worked on the bike with the limited mechanical skills he learned from the internet. It almost seems as if the man had done more harm than good, stripping the motorcycle of all nonessential parts, but it was a style of sorts. Oskar donned his grey leather jacket and strapped his full face black helmet on before firing up the motorcycle. The exhaust didn’t compare to the rumbling Harleys that roamed Haye, but it belted out a pleasant tune. Oskar rolled the bike outside, warming up the old engine, and looked up just in time to notice the tall grass besides the driveway stirring. While Oskar’s brother lived outside of the city limits, it was still uncommon to see wildlife roaming around the property, as they lived in a small community with neighbors close by. That is, it was uncommon until Oskar moved in. He spotted a long snout dusted with white and brown fur emerge from the frost-tipped brush line before quickly retreating. Usually, the family of coyotes greeted him the moment he walked outside, but today they seemed skittish. _Foreshadowing, maybe?_ Oskar thought, but shook his head. _Or maybe they’re just scared of the motorcycle, you idiot._ The morning cold should have sent chills down Oskar’s spine as he drove into town, but his anxiety and fear kept him plenty warm. He tried to convince himself it was just a usual trip to the bar, grab a few drinks and meet some women, and not a clandestine meeting of magical beings that are being hunted by the government. To put himself at ease, Oskar tried to find humor in the situation. He imagined the gathering as almost an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, all of the Emergents shifting awkwardly in their chairs as they confessed their secrets. _Hi, my name’s Oskar, and I’m an Emergent. I woke up this morning and three bears were staring at me through my window._ He used this to block out what very well might actually happen; a platoon of armed soldiers barge through the door and haul him away to be experimented on like an animal. _Funny how history repeats itself so quickly._ Oskar’s grandparents, having lived in Nazi Germany, told him of the horrors that the government committed against its own people. Jews deemed “non-human”, stripped of their basic rights. Their own neighbors dragged onto the streets and beaten. Many were rounded up in the train yards and sent to die in work camps. His grandparents always reminded him of these atrocities so he would never forget, and, God forbid, so he would recognize and help stop genocide. _No, its funny how quickly people forget._ In what felt like mere minutes, Oskar arrived at the bar, The Water of Life. The streets were fairly silent, most of Haye busy at work. A few cars were parked in front of the bar, but it was practically empty. Oskar rode around the area in search of anything suspicious, though he wasn’t sure what suspicious was. He pictured men in black suits idling around with their hands occasionally touching their ear and talking, but was sure the government was much more competent than shown in Hollywood films. Satisfied with his search, Oskar rode his bike into the alley behind The Water of Life, leaving his helmet with the motorcycle. If he had to make a quick escape, Oskar figured he could dart to the back and ride off into the sunset. That was the plan, anyway. _If it looks like a trap, feels like a trap, and smells like a trap, you don’t have to walk through the door to know it’s a trap._ He wasn’t entirely sure why he stood in front of the bar doors. Oskar didn’t need friends. He had plenty back home, and even a few in town. Oskar didn’t believe there was strength in numbers, certainly in this situation; with his limited hunting experience, he knew that a pack was always easier to hunt than a single animal. A pack left more tracks, were easier to spot, and traveled much slower. Still, his curiosity had gotten the best of him though. When he was checking out a book on local wildlife at the local bookstore, the book keeper promptly pulled him to the custodial room. Oskar thought he was about to fulfill some unwanted fantasy of his involving a librarian gone wild until she said she knew he was an Emergent like her. The young girl, Emelina, explained she was organizing a meeting of Emergents at The Water of Life, and he was to come. It was the prospect of finding answers that brought him here really, and though he would deny it, maybe a way to fight back. Against his better instinct, Oskar pushed his way through the doors and into the bar. He’d been there on several occasions with his brother, and was fairly acquainted with the staff and patrons. The bar itself was, in Oskar’s opinion, very American. It looked like a puzzle, but with pieces from eight different sets. It seemed to embody what he thought of the country; hard-working hardy people coming from all over the world, bringing their own ideals and ways of life with them. It was a far cry from the uniform nature of beer halls in Germany, but they shared a similar sense of place. Inside, he only recognized two people, Emelina and the bartender, Brian. The journalist took a seat at the bar near Emelina, whose eyes were concealed by dark sunglasses. _Hung over and already at the bar? Impressive._ After attending to the other customers, Brian made his way towards Oskar. “**Good morning Brian. Shit, it is morning, isn’t it? I’ll take an Irish coffee in that case**,” he said with a forced grin. Although his German accent was quite thick, it was still easy to understand. He glanced over at Emelina occasionally, wondering how this meeting would occur with Brian present.
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Pree
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It was her mother’s bed. It was old, not rotting or filled with bed bugs, just… Hard and pokey. The pillows had lost all life to them and just stayed there, and somewhere in the room was some kind of snoring. Alex had her eyes closed, pretending to sleep, or maybe she was asleep, it was hard to tell. She woke up with a discomfort in her leg, a numbness, only to find out she had left a needle in there. She grumbled a little and then got up, moving lethargically. It was hard. She shut her eyes and it was all just a blank darkness that filled the space. Everywhere she looked, spaces were filled with creatures that moved in her mind, except they were devoid of the light, of the colour only she could give to them, and they spoke to her, begging her for more. “What do you ever give me in return?” She challenged out loud, shuffling off the bed on her feet. When she turned around, visible to her open eyes now, she could see it, even if it was for only a second, her visions reaching out to touch her. She tilted her head to the side, barely able to breathe. She knew they weren’t human, they weren’t even real for one thing, but to reach out… She coughed out, a bit of blood in the spit that oozed down her face. She moved to the bathroom, hating the taste of the water as she managed to brush her teeth, comb her hair. She had a date today. Everyone was getting restless. She went down to the basement, behind eight locked doors and three different sets of securities. When she walked down there – though it was pitch black, she teared up because of the bright colours in the room. She knew which ones were ready, but she felt them all out anyway, as if she was making them better. That’s all she wanted to do, make things better. Something buzzed and dragged her out of her colours, the bright light disappearing, and she looked at a little source of light buzzing on the ground. “Peter.” She said, as the phone managed to answer itself as if to her command. She didn’t need to look behind her – she knew he was there. It. She. Alex didn’t care. Fucking thing was always behind her. “Heya, hon, it’s me. How are you?” “It’s too early in the morning for this. What are you even thinking?” Alex didn’t say much else, but she listened on as Peter fumbled and said he needed several batches now. “Look, it’s my brother. You know what he’s like.” Rapist, violent, hipster barbarian. “H-hey. You there?” “You’re going to have to give me more money this time,” she said, sighing as a need to explain herself rose up. “The electricity bill’s rolled in again, and some other stuff. And I… Need something.” She shut her eyes, tilting her head back, everything went blank for a second as she felt it behind her back. A hand caressing her spine almost. “Consider it all taken care of,” Peter said. He always said that, and he always did what he said too. Rare quality for a man like him. “And how much do you need?” How much did she need? Did she even know how much of the drugs she had left? She gagged at the taste of blood again, knowing nothing matched the high anymore. She half looked back at the emptiness behind her. “Naah. I think I’m going to… Do less for a while. I’ll call you though if I change my mind.” “Ah that’s great. I could definitely come over and…” The thought of Peter in bed felt like someone walking over her grave, like she was up to more mischief than she should be, than she was allowed. She grinned to herself, imagining, in detail, though he wasn’t very good, the thought of him naked, fumbling around with his body, his hands on her breasts, trying to grope them like they were actually there as he… “Alex?” “I don’t like that place. Can’t we do the regular place?” “We’d get into trouble with Sheriff Luntz. Remember how Gary said we shouldn’t really let him know because he wouldn’t be happy with stuff like this?” Alex grunted. The bar had a long alley right behind it, and nobody went there. It wasn’t the cleanest place either, not that she minded that. The stuff was good, she knew. She had never sampled it herself though. A weird taste in her mouth if she did, and not the nice kind either. She turned around to look at the back of the house, but what she felt wasn’t comforting at all. They weren’t just in her room now, at the back of her mind. She was sure they were coming out. At least he did. She twirled a bit, wanting to see him and ask him a question, but she felt stupid, worse than she generally did, and she walked down, hands in her pockets as she carried her ‘handbag’. “Oh darling look!” A voice got her out of her mind, and she skipped to see Mrs. Anton. Mrs. Anton gave her a brownie, which Alex munched down as she stared at the garden. Mrs. Anton specifically pointed out at the rose plant, which was blooming quite well. “You’ve given it life again!” “Thank you, ma’am, it looks quite beautiful…” And for a second the garden filled with light, the end of the rose petals twinkling as Alex ran her fingers gently over the side. She finished her brownie, her eyes wide as just beyond the garden, as it ended into the pavement, the dark shadow, worse now with all this brightness around, stood patiently. “I have to go now, but I will definitely come by later for tea.” Alex walked down the path, taking the smallest corners that she could find, away from the light, though it was tiresome to even walk to three miles down to the – what was it called again? She only remembered the name when she saw it, _The Water of Life_. She saw Peter there too, who waved her down and then took a wad of notes out of his pocket and dropped it into a handbag that looked exactly like hers, switching the bag. He leaned in to kiss her. It smelt as though he hadn’t brushed in a week, and Alex shuffled back when she felt something pull her towards the bar. She didn’t need to look to see the shadow was there, standing, except now with its back to her, as if it was looking into the place with wide eyes. “You’re a life saver. I’ll call you, ‘cause if I don’t leave now…” Alex waved her hands, looking down as the sun came out, ready to get out of there, waiting for her _friend_ to get ready so she could leave.
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by HeySeuss
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HeySeuss DJ Hot Carl

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Click, new channel on the TV, one of the waitresses, sitting at a distance from the people who seemed to be hitting Brian up for drinks, perhaps a bit miffed that the tips would be coming his way. _"..the latest victim was found in the vicinity of Ridgway, which raises the body county to fourteen. As in previous cases found in DuBois, St. Mary's, Kersey and other towns near Allegheny National Forest, the body, according to coroner reports, had certain parts very carefully removed with a sharp instrument such as a scalpel or butcher's knife. Authorities have not yet identified the victim, pending notification of the family..." _ More and more, depressing news on the TV, but Brian tried to tune it out. **"Morning, Hartmann. I see you're getting an early start. Must be a busy day in hack journalism."** But it was said with a smile. Around here, they liked a degree of back and forth ballbreaking, it was the sort of thing done in a small town to keep things lively. The coffee machine here was top notch, which meant the water was hot, and the whiskey was easy enough to get hot in the water. A proper Irish coffee required cream and brown sugar, the latter of which was dropped directly into the coffee and whiskey to dissolve while he got the cream shaken in a stainless steel mixing cup. The news kept droning on about the story, the frustration of local law enforcement agencies as they tried to cooperate but were out of their depth and, of course, the speculation that Emergents were obviously responsible. Why, they even got Gary Miller, in a suit and looking professionally coiffed, to speculate to that effect. Hartmann's dog was barking outside, suddenly. More than barking, howling, but Brian didn't pay much attention to it as he gave the coffee a bit of a stir and poured it into a glass, leaving some room on the top. He did, however, notice around the time he was handing over the glass, with the shaken cream frothing on top. Dog was barking in basso, it was starting to draw notice. **"Might wanna give some to your pooch, man. Why don't you just bring the dog in?"** Of course, in the days of federal government and state government health inspections, it was a bit of a no-no to bring a dog in, but these days, the government was too busy with other things to run the regularly scheduled inspections. In any case, the door rang again, and it wasn't Hartmann getting his dog, but a fellow in a well-cut suit with thinning hair managed to saunter in, **"Hey there, Brian, how are you?"** Charles "Call Me Chuck" McAllister, a former US Attorney before going into private practice after losing a run for Congress about six years ago. He was a fairly tall, wiry sort of guy somewhere in his mid-40's, though it looked like he was taking much better care of himself -- if he was slumping after the loss of his run for congress, he seemed to be bouncing back now, with a light step and the glow of good health. He was the guy that was widely rumored to be the next mayor's pick for sheriff, part of the platform of 'getting tough on the freaks" that was sponsored by Gary Miller. He didn't think McAllister was as much a believer as he was hungry to get back into elected office. Some people saw 'crisis' and thought 'opportunity' and Chuck McAllister was certainly the type, in Brian's mind. Still, politeness cost little, particularly in his job. **"I'm doing alright. Can I get you anything?"** **"Sure, how about we make it a cappuccino, so long as you don't tell anyone."** Brian flashed a knowing grin at that -- The Water of Life did a better cappuccino than the Starbucks nearby, but it was still considered less than working class manly to drink one, though it was more okay if you were part Italian the way Brian and Johnny were. **"No worries, we know how to keep hookers, coke and imported coffee habits a secret."** He assured the man with the sort of banter that a good bartender always had up his sleeve. Brian was good at the poker face delivery, even as he got the man's espresso poured and the milk steamed. Getting the hang of the barista skills was part of the job of 'morning manager' ever since the last guy quit in a huff and Brian found that he could just do the job. **"Sounds good,"** McAllister told Brian as he took up the oversized mug, **"But while the coffee is damned good here, what I really wanted to do was have a chat with you about Haye Township."** Brian nodded politely, still poker-faced, **"Sure."** To Emelina's sight, the man drinking coffee and chatting with Brian in quiet tones from a distance away from her had a rather strange aura -- red shot with a swirling, vivid black, but encased in arctic cyan. It was a thing that flashed in and out of sight erratically, as opposed to the steady appearance of other auras, even those like Brian, which swirled blue and silvery. **"Well, I know you're a friend of Sheriff Mark's, but it's likely that he's going to lose this election and, quite frankly, he's a good guy but he's not quite up to the, uh, current circumstances. What the department needs, however, is reliable field leadership, and your name is at the top of that list. I mean, son, you've been a Deputy US Marshall for years, kicking down doors and handling all sorts of high threat situations, and what we have here with these freaks is definitely a high threat situation..."** The man was stirring his coffee as he gave his little oration, quietly and conversationally. No one else saw what Kurt saw floating around the man; the ghosts trying to howl their message, incoherently, because their tongues were cut out -- that was easy to see in the news. And yet, they hadn't been there before, until McAllister came in. **"So what are you saying, sir?"** **"I need a solid, respected man to take over the tactical team we want to form when I get in. We need someone with the experience and the knowledge to run that unit, particularly in dealing with the freak threat. It'd carry a captain's rank."** **"It's a generous offer,"** Brian started slowly, but was cut off. **"Look, I know recent events have been bad. You have until after the election to actually respond to the offer. But your sister seemed to think that you're not doing much here and she's the one that suggested you to Pastor Miller and Hank,"** referring to the town's most politically active pastor and Henry Miller, the guy running unopposed for mayor. **"I'll consider it,"** he told the man, though he considered his mind made up; but an argument with a lawyer that disagreed with him would merely drag out the uncomfortable situation. McAllister was anti-Emergent and this was a meeting, right under the man's nose, of a group of Emergents coming together out of mutual fear of what the future, represented by this very man among others, held. He'd resigned because he didn't like the Dunn Act. He resigned because people were freaking out and expected to shoot their way out of the problem. The trees were erupting with dryads and long dead ghosts were haunting their former residences, but people seemed to think that 'getting tough' would solve it. And some people were getting themselves elected by selling what they couldn't deliver -- back to the way it was before. None of that, of course, was something he wanted to talk about. Not with this guy, so Brian merely nodded along as if he were thinking it over. But McAllister got impatient for the answer, and saved him from a longer response. The man was already checking his smartphone, presumably looking at his appointment schedule. **"Sounds good. Anyway, damned good coffee, glad to see you back in Haye."** He drained the coffee, slid some money on the table, including a fairly nice tip, and ambled out, which set Hartmann's dog barking again.
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by FernStone
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"I am fine, thank you," Emelina spoke in response to Kurt with a slight smile, though her head was turned slightly to the side so she didn't have to look directly at him. "And I am not sure... two or three more." The aura of other emergents was... Irritating to say the least. She gaze momentarily moved to Sydney as she arrived, giving a slight wave and smile before looking away again. "It's fine." She could already feel a headache coming on, however. She had been trying to avoid being in the company of too many people recently. But this seemed slightly more necessary. For survival and all that. Not that her ability was difficult to hide or anything. The entrance of Oskar only added to the beginnings of the headache and she moved her gaze to where the least amount of colour got through her sunglasses. "Damn bright colours," she muttered under her breath before shaking her head. It was out of the corner of her eye that she first noticed the aura of McAllister and she couldn't help glancing over, taking it in. It was quite unlike any she had seen before and it... unnerved her. She did not know what the colours around people meant normally never mind this one. Yup, that was definitely a headache coming on. She rubbed her head slightly before indicating for Brian to come over. "Could I possibly have a glass of water?" Hopefully that would help a bit. "Also, did anyone else see something strange just then? I swear..."She trailed off, keeping her voice quiet in case any of the other people in the bar, though they were few, overheard her and took a certain meaning from the words she said. Keeping her voice quiet, she continued. "We may as well start. I do not believe anyone else is coming." Boy was she looking forward to spending the next however long in a room full of bright colours and she could see even through the sunglasses. "Though I may go outside just for a moment before. Fresh air, and the like." She winced."My head is starting to get sore already."
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Necrophage
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Mom and Dad had told him plenty about local and national politicians. McAllister was among those local that they spoke fairly badly about. Though Kurt had not seen the man in person before his fine appearance didn't hide the wailing of the spirits that were attempting to haunt the man. His heart pounded and the warm spike of adrenaline shot through his limbs. McAllister had some serious baggage! It was a great relief as the politician left. The terror on Kurt's face visibly lifted. It seemed that Brian knew his way around the man. Kurt didn't answer Emelina immediately, thinking it over for a moment. As he thought about it he pulled a rattling blue bottle from his backpack. A common pain reliever. Kurt smirked, enjoying an opportunity to be useful. "Here, I hope this helps." Finally, in response to Emelina's question, he leaned in closer to her ear to whisper. "I think he's killed someone or been a serious part of it. I can tell you why later." Something bad was going on in this town and they were about to be dragged into it. The spirit's tongues had been visibly cut. Was this symbolic? No. They had to have been shut up to hide McAllister's dirt. Or it was even worse than that. It was time to start the meeting.
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by HeySeuss
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"Here," Brian told them, as he handed out the cards -- his brother's, kept for the typical meeting of friends for geeky card games on the slow days, which happened from time to time, "And act natural." It was a bit of a risk, whipping out cards for a game that dealt with the supernatural and all that stuff, but the bald man seemed confident. The local religious groups disapproved of roleplaying games and the like as a gateway to sin, but there was no link at all that anyone could establish. Brian's brother, John, was a known geek, after all. People might give the place a sidelong glance for hosting D&D games and the like, and yet the local idiots tended to let it go. And that's why Brian dealt out the cards. Everyone else might have been having a heart attack, but it was hiding in plain sight. He even untied his apron and sat right down with the bunch of them, though he wasn't drinking any alcohol or coffee -- one would settle his nerves and make him overly at ease, the other would wind him up. And this whole proceeding required a degree of calm. "What do you mean 'strange?' I didn't see a thing, I was too busy talking to McAllister there." His expression was fairly impassive, but he let it show, however faintly, past the mien that he wasn't a big fan of the man. He was a fucking suit, through and through, and Brian didn't necessarily dislike suits, but he disliked the really sociopathic seeming ones.
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