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6 yrs ago
Current Off Hiatus?
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6 yrs ago
"Mecha Cowboys" has less than a thousand hits on Google. I've never been more upset.
7 yrs ago
RP Concept: "Screw just the plans, we're stealing the Death Star and taking that baby for a joyride!"
7 yrs ago
The VeggieTales theme song has been stuck in my head for at least three days now. Can't decide if it a good or bad thing yet.


Writer of schlock dressed up in some decent clothes.

Most Recent Posts

Interactions: Edict @AtomicEmperor, Anyone but Britney
Flowers and Canvases

Sloane had a migraine. It had started as a probing pin in the back of her eye as Kali flashed his badge, flared as Drake pulled a lightning blade on Jack for upstaging everyone’s entrance, and exploded into a jackhammer pounding at the back of her skull by the time the gun had come into play. The only thing that kept Sloane from flopping down in a chair and groaning in agony was a stubborn refusal to allow any of these people see even the slightest crack in her veneer and the preemptive dose of extra strength aspirin she’d popped on the car ride here. She’d anticipated a number of terrible scenarios for this evening ever since Auri had called but witnessing someone being held at gunpoint had not been envisioned. Name calling, scab picking, dick swinging, fist flying, and a few rogue spells, a couple of bloody noses, some bruised egos? Absolutely. A missed opportunity finally coming together and eventually spiraling into a toxic relationship? Slim, but possible. The whole thing being a massive ruse by Father Wolf to get everyone together in one place to wipe them out and wipe them all out in a massacre? Not very likely, but she’d considered it.

Somebody blowing someone’s brains out after they offered up their own gun? No, she hadn’t been stupid enough to consider it.

It had played out the best way possible—with the gun eventually taken out of play and whatever Kali had inside of his head in place of a brain still there. It was almost upsetting. Fancy for a moment an alternative ending: Everleigh grabs the gun with not intention to murder but every intention to showboat, Kali had been incorrect about a round not being chambered and the safety being on, her hand slips, he flinches too hard, an attempt to intervene goes array, and bang. At least in this scenario Everleigh learned that no amount of Kool-Aid poured from Sullivan’s Chalice would ever fix the leak in the middle of someone’s forehead and Kali would never needlessly share information, or anything, ever again. Instead, the way it had panned out would only further fuel the irresponsibility of the two.

Relax, nothing went wrong Karen.

Yeah Sloane, don’t sweat it. It’s not like it matters if I’m killed, even though if I do die it immediately burns everyone in the room and the full force of the FBI will be up everybody’s ass by breakfast.

Allegedly, anyway.

The fluorescents were starting to hurt so bad that they were blinding. Sloane closed her eyes as she listened to Auri attempt to turn the meeting away from the dramatics. She focused in on the conversation, trying to ignore the sharp throb in her head, but becoming distracted when the pain mixed with something else. Something soothing. It was like the night tide had come in on a warm tropical breeze and pulled the migraine away into the Caribbean Sea. Sloane opened her eyes and hazarded a glance at Greyson. She saw him discard his Spirit Halloween priest costume, the same place Kali had picked up his badge perhaps, and shift back into the Corey Hart sleazebag she’d known as a teen.

He wasn’t looking at her in the flower shop, too busy flirting with Eve and Kali, but she could feel him watching her stare out at the sea as pink tendrils caught her migraine and drowned it in the undertow. He’d stopped right at the edge of the boardwalk, blocked by a rope and a sign that said ‘Private Beach’, his hands occupied by a pair of tiki drinks topped with tiny colorful umbrellas. She could let him in. All she had to do was lift the rope. She wouldn’t have to be alone on her little beach. There could be someone with her who knew what she was feeling without her having to say or explain anything. Somebody who just got it. An instant connection without the struggle of heaving emotional baggage over conversational hurdles. Sloane was surprised by how strong of a temptation it was; she felt her mental self peek over her shoulder with an acknowledging look.

"Hey guys." The sea breeze died; her headache emerged on the crest of a tidal wave and crashed down on her. "It's been a while, hasn't it?"

As Greyson’s tendrils pushed back out he would no longer find his foot tapping on the boardwalk at the edge of her beach. He’d find that Sloane had disappeared behind the Iron Curtain and he was being roughly patted down at a security checkpoint with contraband in his pocket, spotlights and sniper scopes trained on him from the top of towers, with a razor-wire wall before him and nothing but a minefield and a killzone behind him, and a doberman growling at his crotch. No sign this time asking for privacy. It was clear enough that he’d fucked it. Back in the flower shop, Sloane slipped a card from out of her jacket and walked across the room with purpose. Her approach was covered by the arrival of Britney, the departure of Tayla, and Luca’s fumble.

Sloane was likely unnoticed until she emerged from the group to step between Greyson and Britney. Sloane didn’t welcome Britney, because she wasn’t. She didn’t acknowledge her with a look or a nod. She just turned her back, focused on Greyson. Sloane looked up at him, catching her reflection in his sunglasses. She didn’t appear angry or annoyed. She just looked bored, as if she was flipping through a catalog to choose which color of off-white paint she was going to pick solely just to watch it dry. Perhaps a little more tired than usual, too. In her right hand she held her Channeler, a faded and folded tarot card with the image of a woman sitting on a throne with a sword in her right hand and her left hand raised to receive.

“Do you still think we are a bunch of stupid children who have no clue what they are doing, Greyson, or is it you that hasn’t changed? I could see how a couple of us may have given you that impression,” she said without looking away from the glasses. Her voice was calm and measured, loud enough to be heard by the group but soft enough they’d have to strain if they wanted to catch it all. “Maybe you just felt left out. Everybody else was throwing magic around without care. Still. It doesn’t justify the choice you just made. You have another choice now Greyson. Two, actually.”

She held up one finger.

“Option one: you allow me to modify your Channeler so it breaks when you cast a spell on any of us currently present in the shop, the mark in a place so obvious that anyone could tell if you undo it.”

She held up a second finger.

“Option two: you explain to us what value there is to allow you to cast your spells on the group because, as far as I can tell, they have none."

She raised her left hand, mirroring the woman on the card, “Your choice.”
Taking a play from Fern, I'm also sharing the relation sheets for Sloane and Sully if anything needs changed.

Days Earlier...

Dirty boots splashed through a crystal clear brook as the sun peeked through the boughs of massive evergreens. Sully heard nothing more than his own heavy, labored breaths, the soft babbling of water over stones, and the chirping of birds too stubborn to migrate south. There was a pain in the side of his ribs that wasn’t wholly unpleasant. How long had it been since he’d pushed himself like this? College? High school? He pushed the past out of his head and focused on the path before him. Nothing mattered more but the sticks, stones, and leaves on the ground before him and the destination he had in mind. Just another two miles. Two miles was nothing. But when he factored in the distance he’d already gone, and the distance he’d have to go to get back, it made him pause. The Spring Maiden had said it was an awesome view, but a view couldn’t really be worth all this effort, could it?

He heard his dad’s voice on the wind whisper to him to push on and so he did. Each step was heavy, like the mud around his boots had turned into concrete. The fire in his side spread to his lungs, the gasps for air becoming pained. He remembered how Coach barked at him and the other boys, pushing them until some of the boys were bent over on the ground and heaving up their breakfast. He’d probably laughed, not in a mean-spirited way but in a way that said not to worry about it, everybody made an ass of themselves at practice, and then gave them a hand up. He was happy there wasn’t anyone out here now to watch him struggle, although he would’ve taken a shoulder to lean on. He settled on a tree instead, letting the mountain air cool his lungs down.

The Chalice felt heavy in his backpack. Sully knew he could just reach back, undo the zipper, take a big swig of its elixir, and be ready to keep pushing on. He didn’t. The reward at the end of the trail was amplified by the struggle. He leaned back against the tree and groaned, staring up at the branches overhead, the world a swirl of colors. He closed his eyes and listened to the nature around him as his breathing slowed. The reward at the end? He was already being rewarded with this moment away from everything: away from the city, away from the pollution, away from the dead-end jobs and neverending distractions and obligations. A moment of peace, a second of clarity.

Ashley was being buried today. Sully was supposed to be at the funeral, supposed to give a speech, even had it jotted down on a crumpled piece of paper in his pocket. He’d be expected to lighten up the mood, make everyone leave feeling slightly better then when they had arrived, leave them thinking that they’d all gathered here today not because of one senseless death but because of one magnificent life. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t lie to those people. He couldn’t lie to himself. It had been a pointless death piled on top of other pointless deaths: Jade, Ripley, Lionel, Kura, Sam, Elsa, Kari, Jin, Bella. He felt his legs grow weak. Sully let himself sink down to the dirt, buried his head in his arm, let his shoulders heave. He wasn’t making it to the summit. He wasn’t going to the funeral. Maybe he’d just stay lost here in the middle forever.

with Auri Auclair and Sloane Faris

Interactions: Kali @Damycles Finn @Theyra, Drake@Punished GN
Flowers and Canvases.

Sully may not have made it to the funeral, but he was happy he’d come for the reunion. Even if all he actually committed to the group was letting one more of the witches forget that there were consequences to her actions it still meant he was of some relevance. He patted her—Everleigh, Eve—on the shoulder as she latched onto his other arm, polite code for ‘alright, let the fuck go’. She eventually took the hint. Sully turned to Eve’s crutch and clapped him lightly on the back.

“Good to see you too, Finn. Where’s—” Sully stopped himself. He’d almost stupidly asked about Bella. “Sorry. Dark times, man, dark times. Bella was a good egg. How you holding—” "SULLY, YOOOOOOOOO!" AYYYYYYYYYYYY, LOOK WHO FINALLY CAUGHT UP! DRAKEY BABY!”

Sully left Finn hanging, as thankful that Drake had pulled him out of an awkward moment as he was that he’d put away that lightning sword. Something about Drake yelling the Beer Chalice triggered a devolution in Sully, further reverting him into a simple meathead. He let out a valiant cheer of his own and scooped Drake up like he’d just scored the game winning goal in a mighty bear hug, complete with a full spin. He was about to holler for someone to bring him some solo cups when Auri and Kali ended their seven minutes in heaven with about four minutes to spare. Auri shouted so loudly at Eve for smoking in her store that Sully felt like he was guilty by association for not saying anything.

He set Drake down, patted him on the shoulder, and found himself a chair as Kali took the floor. Everybody was talking over one another, seemingly in protest of something Kali had done. Sully had the sinking feeling between showing up late and spinning Drake like a ballerina he’d missed something massively important. Nevertheless, Sully knitted his brow and rubbed his chin as he pretended like he was following along as Kali showed off a picture of a wolf carving. “Right, the Russians,” he muttered, suddenly feeling like he was being held hostage at the Thanksgiving table by the weird uncle who’d already shown up to dinner six jack and cokes deep. As with Uncle Jim, he just nodded along. Mhm, yeah, NSA, yeah, totally. Oh, you need help cleaning the dishes?

Sully shifted in his chair uncomfortably. Surely, someone would speak up and put an end to this unhinged speech. Kali was always one of the quieter members of the Coven. Not necessarily a bad dude, maybe a little weird, but nothing like this. This guy seemed completely incoherent. This was cruising past the lands of uncomfortable straight down the highway to depressing with a brick tapped to the gas pedal. And then the gun came out. Sully tensed up in his seat as the air sucked out of the room. His eyes darted across the room towards the others, trying to gauge their reaction, trying to judge the distance between himself and Kali if he needed to tackle the man. He watched Everleigh move towards Kali, saw the look in her eyes, the signal from his brains to his legs firing too slowly as he made the connection. Sully stood up too slowly for his own likely, the metal legs of his chair screeching against the floor as it slid back. Eve had already closed the distance. His pupils dilated as she pushed the gun against Kali’s head.

“Hey, wait—” His voice broke, his throat running dry. Ancient shadows of limp bodies too close to the end to drink from the Chalice flashed on the walls as Sully braced himself to watch yet another person die right in front of his very own eyes. Oh God. Everleigh tucked the gun away. Sully heaved out a loud sigh mixed with a ‘what the fuck’ as he began to pace with his hands on his head. Eve proposed they continued with a vote. Sully stopped, still unaware of the full situation, and exploded on an assumption, “Jesus fucking Christ, I’m not voting on a public execution!”

“We’re just voting on whether or not to crowd-surf Kali out the door!” clarified Auri.

“Oh man, what the hell you guys,” said Sully, wiping his hands across his face with relief and sinking back down into a chair. He looked at Kali. The man seemed unstable, unwell. He’d offered to let them kill him and had hardly even flinched when Eve grabbed the gun. It’d be uncomfortable to keep him around, but throwing him out in the cold would likely mean it was the last they’d ever see of the guy. He’d been part of their team once. They couldn’t do that to him. Even if Sully had been fully caught up to speed, his decision would have remained the same. “I mean, let the guy stay right? He said he still cares. I still care about you too, dude.” Sully gestured towards Kali. “So, like, no more Russian Roulette and I think we’re good.”

“A vote where the final call is made by the one with a gun doesn’t seem very democratic,” said Sloane. “I abstain.”

Interactions: Everleigh @LanaStorm
Flowers and Canvases

Sloane’s eyes were hollow shells as they fell upon the priest that had come to “Sister Auclair’s” defense. She knew well enough that guilt was the preferred tool of the cloth when it came to manipulation, yet it was so wonderfully wielded that for a moment Sloane actually almost felt something. Then she realized that the master manipulator was none other than Greyson Devola. Fitting that the man raised in one “legitimate business” would find himself involved in another. She sniffed at his closing statement. Sloane tried to hang on to the idea of being innocent until proven guilty. The evidence back then had only been circumstantial, Greyson’s verdict little more than the unfair results of a bunch of witches on a witch hunt. She’d dealt with similar accusations. Had that been a confession, or was he so full of fire and brimstone these days that all he could blow was hot air?

Sloane tugged at her collar as Auri admitted to not inviting Emily. She might’ve been an absolute bitch, but she had been one of them. Emily and her toady at the very least deserved to know that they were being hunted. She gave Auri a slight head tilt as Auri recruited Sloane and two others to the welcome wagon without even asking. Sloane guessed that being less of a dictatorship didn’t necessarily equate to a lack of dictates. She wouldn’t fight if it meant they got to the meat of the subject: Father Wolf, Judas, head of a gang called the Wolfpack. Auri wanted them to go talk to a stripper at the club the Wolfpack frequented. Maybe one or two of them would be able to follow the lead. Sloane’s clothes were too nice to get covered in glitter and cheap lipstick.


She was cut off by the door opening and a man dressed for a funeral stumbled in. She didn’t immediately recognize him until she glanced towards the others and saw him as a blur in her periphery: Kali. It was unusual for him to make himself the center of attention. Before he’d come in through the door she would’ve believed that he was already there, tucked behind the leaves of an oversized house plant. Sloane felt her heart rate spike as Kali pulled out his badge and declared himself with the FBI. Obeying the law and doing the right thing weren’t always one in the same. She didn’t seem to be the only one uneasy by the presence of the feds—Alizée bolted the second Auri pulled Kali into another room. Not suspicious at all.

Jack’s appearance from the Void was odd in how calming its familiarity was, having quite the opposite effect of Kali’s badge pull. Finn had quietly snuck in before him, soon joined by a woman latching on to his shoulder for balance and looking like absolute shit. Jesus, was that Eve? Sloane was so distracted by how badly battered she hardly had time to bristle about her smoking inside. She nearly cringed at the mention of their healer. Sully was skilled at becoming a ghost the moment someone needed him, and Jade was…Sloane stole a look towards Drake, trying to get a read on him. Her eyes shot to Luca as he started mentioning some heavy duty painkillers. She didn’t need to look at Tayla to feel her getting tense.

“Let’s j—”

“So y’all think they’re making out in there or what?” boomed a rich voice from the doorway. Sully McPherson stood in the door, taking up much of the frame, a heavy knit blue cardigan tight on his large frame. He beamed a massive smile which drew away from his eyes that were red and puffy. He carefully squeezed past the other newcomers, his hand deftly reaching back to catch his backpack before it swung into Finn. “Why you all blocking the door, damn?”

“Always wanted to have a reunion. Kinda wish it was under better circumstances, but it’s good to see all your bright, beautiful faces! Except you, Drake. You still ugly as fuck, bro,”
he said with a loud laugh as he took a chair, spun it around, and sat down with his hands folded over the headrest. Sloane inhaled and stared up at the fluorescents. “So what’s everybody been up to? Kill any other ancient, world-devouring monsters? Fuck up and have a kid? Dude, you’re a priest? How did—”

“We were discussing how to capture Ashley’s murderer,” interjected Sloane in an attempt to turn things back on track. “We’ve tracked him to a stripclub.”

“Oh, great, yeah, let’s go serve some justice and see some titties. Can’t really have a party in a flower shop any…” Sloane traced his eyes to Eve. “...way. Holy shit. Why didn’t you ask for a healer? It’s cool, girl, I got the medicine.”

Sully rummaged around in his pack and produced a silver cup in the shape of a wine glass. Sloane shifted at how haphazardly Sully treated the artifact The Chalice looked small in his hands as he popped up from his seat and took a slow stride over to Eve. He held the cup up to the woman, the empty vessel filling with a shimmering red liquid as his thumb traced the runes on the outside of the Chalice. One solid drink was all Eve needed to heal all of those cuts and bruises. Sully nodded in encouragement.

“To your health.”
You know I said two so now I've done two and now you gotta judge number two. @Punished GN


The shadows of the tombstones grew long against the setting sun as dead leaves danced on the wind. A woman in a long black coat stepped softly between the rows while her shadow, a large man in a fitted suit and too much hair gel, waited by the car. She slowed her steps so she could read the epitaphs as she passed, entire lives boiled down to a relationship, a religion, or one final chance to prove to the world that they had half a wit. The woman stopped before a fresh grave, the wilting bouquets of flowers and lace still another day or two away from being composited by the groundskeeper. She stared down at the grave with a slight frown and tucked a loose strand of graying hair behind her ear. She had imagined it would be bigger. Back in the day, Ashley had always been the center of attention. It felt odd to find her tucked away on the fringe, shoved off to the side. Odd, but not necessarily bad.

Sloane folded her arms over her chest and nudged a bouquet with her foot. Just a couple of weeks ago Sloane had found herself sitting about six feet away from Ashley, arguing with her at Ashley’s kitchen table. Ashley had refused to see how illogical it was for her to keep holding on to the Apparition Killer if she didn’t have a means to protect herself. Inevitably she resorted to hurling accusations at Sloane, calling her power hungry and irresponsible. At the time it had seemed like Ashley had won the argument, but now Sloane took a moment to reconsider. Yes, obviously, Ashley had been right and Sloane would be more careful with her toys the next time, but now that there was six feet of dirt separating the two Sloane felt pretty justified in her desire to take the artifact off of Ashley’s hands. The extra earth also made it more difficult to throw mud, so instead Sloane thought she should come clean.

“I’ve always hated you, Ashley Stone,” said Sloane matter-of-factly. “I hated your speeches and how you always turned them into a dumb cheer. I hated how you used your mother to garner sympathy like you were the only victim. I hated how you always took the good artifacts and gave them to your inner ring, leaving the cheap knock offs for the rest of us losers. I hated how you treated everyone like they were garbage compared to the great Ashley Stone. I hated how you allowed your friends to use and turn on one another. I hated how you quit. I hated how you didn’t seem to care.”

“But more than anything, I hated how you occupied my mind for the past ten years. I hated how I was always afraid that somebody would come for you so that they could steal the Apparition Killer. I hate that I was right. I feel like now that you’re dead I should be able to forgive you now that I never have to worry about you ever again, only…”
Sloane shut her eyes with a tight squeeze and swallowed in disgust. “You have a daughter. I will never forgive you for doing this to her.”

She leaned forward and spat on the grave.

“You fucking coward.”

Flowers and Canvases.

“This could take anywhere from five minutes to five hours. If I’m not out in thirty, feel free to take off for the night. I’ll be fine,” said Sloane from the backseat of the car, barely looking up from her phone.

“As you wish, Ms. Faris,” asked her driver.

The black Mercedes-Benz pulled up to Flowers and Canvases right on time. Sloane’s driver, the same large man standing overwatch in the cemetery, hopped out of the vehicle and opened Sloane’s door for her. She stepped out, still dressed in her expensive black overcoat that covered her white blouse and gray slacks, and gave the outside of the building an unimpressed once-over. She wondered how much the rent was. The building was a little bigger than Sloane’s antique shop, but Auri probably only had one store. Sloane took what could be her final breath of uncrowded, non-hostile air and entered the store. A few others had already arrived, and Auri was perched on her chair ready to assault Sloane with an annoyingly chipper greeting. Sloane gave her a curt nod, thankful that others were still arriving so they could distract Auri before Sloane was sucked into a conversation.

She took the time before the meeting to wander the store and try to ignore Auri’s stupid butterflies that kept following after her. She ran her finger along a shelf of succulents and checked it for dust. Nearly spotless. She admired a few of the hung paintings, noting the good brushstrokes and complimentary colors, and frowned at the signature signed by Auri Auclair. Auri had a basic, boring subject matter but the talent was unfortunately there. Sloane could see someone hanging one of these photos above a toilet to brighten up their bathroom or to cover up a hole punched in a wall following a domestic dispute. Still, the store was annoyingly nice. Sloane had hoped for—she paused, finally finding what she had been hoping to see.

Sloane took a quickened step over to a row of arrangements whose flowers had started to wilt. She breathed deeply and held back a smirk, delicately lifting a wilting flower with her fingertips to create an approximation of how it should have stood. “Hmm. What a pity,” she muttered, feeling a deep sense of satisfaction. She moved her fingers and allowed the flower to violently drop and slam against the side of the pot. Fulfilled, Sloane made her way back to the ring of chairs. She refused to take a seat, choosing instead to stand off to the side with her arms crossed. She immediately looked down at her watch when Auri began the meeting. When Auri tried to make eye contact with Sloane a few moments later she looked at the time again instead of returning the gaze.

“...Remember, we are not a Coven; we are a family.”

“Jesus Christ,” muttered Sloane under her breath as she rolled her eyes. She could see Auri giving her employees this same kind of shitty line to justify paying them minimum wage to sell her pedestrian paintings. Sloane wanted to get Father Wolf for her own reason: he likely had the Apparition Killer and, given the coincidental timing, could be connected to the theft of her property. If she had wanted a family she would’ve had her driver take her to an Olive Garden, because that family came with unlimited breadsticks as opposed to endless migraines and bottomless bitching.

But Sloane had a family before and they had been awful. As if cued by Auri’s closing statement, the Coven began to shift back into their old ways. Luca immediately began bringing up the past and Alizée began arguing with him over a person that likely wouldn’t even show. Tayla—Sloane hadn’t recognized her at first, but she was pretty sure that woman was Tayla—took a couple of well-deserved jabs at Auri before Linqian jumped in to deliver a suplex. Some of the others like Eksa and Simone shifted uncomfortably in their seats, probably questioning themselves for why they even came. Sloane shook her head. These people were awful to be around. Maybe Auri was right. Maybe they were like a family after all.

Sloane cleared her throat.

“They’re right, Auri. Let’s talk about the man who has murdered about a dozen of our peers, then we can discuss setting up Luca’s GoFundMe,” said Sloane. If she was being sarcastic it was impossible to tell; she sounded as if she was being forced to read a passage from a boring textbook aloud for the class. “I believe Father Wolf stole the Apparition Killer from Ashley, but theft doesn’t seem to be the primary motivation unless the others were robbed. You already seem confident that they’re just one man and not a group or some kind of Apparition. Unless you were just making assumptions based upon a name?”

First character of...two? Two. Two I think.

Interactions: Ophrenia @silvermist1116
Road to the Old Black Manor.

A spotlight courtesy of Carl shone on a dark shadow in the water. Neko’s hand snapped forward like a striking cobra, her fingertips brushing the edge of something smooth and rectangular before a hand wrapped around her arm and jerked her upward. Neko was able to sandwich the phone precariously between two fingers before Lily dredged her up from the water. Lily voiced her concern that Neko was basically offering up her hand to be a free lunch for the nasty critters hanging out in the swamp before waving a flashlight at her. Neko felt her jaw tighten as she braced for the crush from a wave of embarrassment. She had just been given a lesson in safety and responsibility by the same woman who’d given everyone in the van a pleasant second-hand high.

Neko mumbled an apology beneath her breath as Lily moved, but she did not immediately follow after the group. Instead she turned her head down to her phone and grimaced at the absolutely violent spider webbing of the cracked screen that had begun to reveal itself as the rain cleared away the mud. She wiped her hands and the phone against her shirt in a pisspoor attempt to clean it so she could fully assess the damage. The device was an unresponsive mash of kaleidoscopic fragments, a few weekends worth of tips turned into a waterlogged paperweight.

Neko felt her stomach tighten as Ophrenia stopped by her side, coaxing her along while also reproaching her messing around in a swamp full of alligators. Neko sucked in her lip and bit it. She got it. She was the group idiot. Even admitting that she’d forgotten about the danger of their environment because she’d been too distracted by the texts from the psychopath pretending to be her daughter wouldn’t change the fact that she had acted without thinking. Neko uttered another apology, slightly louder this time, and with a thank you. She might’ve thought of herself as stupid, but even she knew it was smart to be polite to the one with a gun.

She filed in behind Ophrenia and hoped the trudge to the mansion wouldn’t be much longer. Neko quickened her pace as a skin-crawling howl cut through the ambience of their footfalls splashing through the rain, suddenly finding herself a lot less uncomfortable with their group carrying guns. She let out an involuntary shriek of her own that suddenly cut silent as her voice broke and jumped back as Lily’s light shined on the writhing mass of a dying deer. She clapped a hand over her mouth, the cries of the dying animal rattling her unable to look away or close her eyes as she drank in the horror of innards moving impossibly. Her mind was incapable of understanding what she was seeing, her brain sending her body signals to run but her frozen feet betraying the orders.

A voice cut through the cries as Ophrenia attempted to justify the sickening sight, downplay it even. Neko’s pupils narrowed into pinpoints as she tried to speak to Ophrenia, as she tried to point out that no semis would have driven through this swamp and no hunter, hell, no human short of an absolute psychopath would’ve carved open a deer and bind it with its own squirming insides. She felt her fingers cinch down on her face even harder as Ophrenia called for a knife. Neko was muzzled by her own nails biting in her cheeks or she would’ve screamed at Ophrenia to just shoot it or just leave it. If she could’ve moved she would’ve pinned Jasmine’s hand in her pocket she couldn’t have offered Ophrenia the knife.

If she had done anything, maybe what came next would not have happened. Instead Neko only watched in silent horror as Ophrenia stepped forward, followed by a flash off too many teeth, blood, and tearing as the deer’s mouth split and the intestines wrapped themselves around Ophrenia’s lower body and pulled her forward like a nightmare lasso.

Ophrenia! screamed Neko as her fear was replaced by a different instinct. She lunged forward and wrapped her arm around Ophrenia’s waist, hoping to prevent the woman from being dragged any further. Neko pulled her pocket knife from her bag with her other hand. Neko bit down on the dull edge of the blade so she could open it with one hand and continue to try to pull Ophrenia away, painlessly slicing the inside corner of her own lip as she unfolded the blade. Immediately she began slicing at the binds wrapping themselves around Ophrenia, trying to carefully slide the blade underneath the intestines and cutting away from Ophrenia to avoid injuring her in the process. Somebody shoot it!

Interactions: Zeltzin @Bartimaeus
Road to the Old Black Manor.

Neko congratulated herself on having the foresight to pack her umbrella as the first raindrop tinged off the roof of the van. However, the small feeling of self-pride for actually being prepared for once was washed away as quickly as the shower transformed into a storm when she reached down and grabbed air. She quietly groaned to herself and slumped against the window. I’ll get you next time, Neko thought as she closed her eyes and listened to the storm, envisioning the transparent polka dotted umbrella that hid beneath the passenger seat of her rental car and radiated a smug sense of satisfaction that its multi-year-record of avoiding use remained unbroken.

The van braked and Neko was awoken from her short doze by her head banging lightly against the window. A hand shot to her temple, Neko feeling more embarrassed than hurt, before drifting down in a poor attempt to mute her loud horse laugh as Ophrenia verbally doused Jen in gasoline and then skipped on the match in favor of pulling out some old, reliable napalm. Neko’s eyes widened and she bit down on her hand as Jen finally began to show some backbone and seemed like she was about to shoot back before Lily put an end to the pointless bickering. Neko hung back for a brief moment just in case the conflict resumed and to avoid getting drenched while the others figured out how to get past the gate. Neko grimaced when the others began to climb it, but it was certainly better than the idea she had which was to just ram it with the van. She covered her head with her bag and hopped out of the van, the water immediately soaking through her shoes, as she approached the gate.

Neko swung her bag over her shoulder and slowly climbed up as Jen had done. By the time Neko was over the top she was completely soaked to the bone. She began easing her way down when Zeltzin scrambled over the top with a howl and landed hard on her feet, her leg crumpling. Neko gasped and scrambled down the side, rushing to check on the woman. “Oh my god, are you o—” She backed away with her hands held up defensively as Zeltzin bristled so furiously that Neko thought she was about to smack her.

“Sorry,” she muttered quietly and pretended to see something interesting on the ground until they began to move on.

Neko followed behind the group, letting those with lights lead the way, her arms wrapped tightly around her chest as she trudged onwards through the muck. Neko saw Lily get startled by something and point off into the swamp. Neko’s breath caught in her throat as she caught a glimpse of the bizarre effigy out of the corner of her eye before the light fell off of it as Jen beckoned everyone onward. She should’ve listened, but curiosity got the better of her. Neko stopped when she arrived at the place Lily had been standing and pulled her phone out of her pocket to use as a light.

Her chest tightened as she saw on the screen several missed texts from an Abby. The screen lit up Neko’s face through the darkness of the storm as her expression absolutely twisted into a look of pure disgust. Before she had a chance to check the messages Neko felt a tiny tug on the back of her soaked shirt. “What!? she hissed, whipping her head around to see that nobody had touched her. She felt it happen before it actually did—a chill of a wind, a snap of a branch, a twist of a wrist, and a splash of water. She felt a numbness in her hand as something splashed into the dark, rising swampwater below.

“Shit,” she said softly. Neko squatted down and began grabbing blindly into the muddied water as her phone fell in. No, not “fell in”—it had been knocked in. Impossible, but she had felt it get smacked. Her hands brushed against mud, sticks, and stones. No phone. Beyond Neko the shadow of the strange deer sentinel stared holes in the woman as her movement became panicked. Her curses grew loud enough to be heard over the storm as her desperate fishing attempts for her phone quickly became pointless splashing. “Shit. Shit! No, no, nonono!”
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