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Snagged a flight for an impromptu trip for a week, but then I should be back in the states and would be so down!

It was not the birds that had Charlie up with the sun, but rather the urge to piss after being ungracefully awoken from a nightmare. As with most dreams, the details slipped away once her eyes opened and fixated on the faintly lit ceiling, but she could recall her desperation to escape from something or someone. She was carrying an unfamiliar young child on her hip, their weight making it impossible to move quickly enough to outrun the offender. She was roused just as she felt her body be yanked to the ground, the kid’s small frame crushed beneath her as she fell. Her subconscious mind was to be thanked for protecting her from what she knew she couldn’t handle.

As she stumbled across the room towards the bathroom still in a haze, her bare feet suddenly slipped against and sunk down into the subfloor where she had torn away rot but not yet replaced the hardwood. Her toes curled into the dampness and she felt her upper lip involuntarily curl in disgust as she peered down at the darkened wood, hardly distinguishable in the steel blue dimness of daybreak. The unfamiliar and deeply concerning texture sent her scrambling away from the area and towards the closest light switch. The starkness of the bathroom’s vanity lights revealed the wet wood sprawled much of space beneath the cast iron radiator situated against the wall.

“Oh, damn it to hell,” Charlie hissed as she realized the leak’s source, the radiator valve still steadily emptying water onto the floor. “Keep the originals,” she sneered, voice lifted a few octaves to further her mocking as she yanked her only towel from the shower curtain rod. So many of the town's residents had sought her out to offer their advice upon hearing of her intentions to renovate the old home. “Respect the history, Child. You’ll regret it.”

Two cups of coffee and a few hours of trying on her own had gotten Charlie nowhere but later in the day. Finally, accepting defeat, she had situated her cell phone on the window pane above where she sat and there she had begun listening intently to a video of an elderly man online explain his quick, two minute fix to the problem. The home’s wifi, however, was nothing short of horrendous and this meant that the picture would halt to buffer every few seconds, leaving the man rambling about olives and couplings with no way for Charlie to figure out what any of those words meant.

With interest in her original project long lost, Charlie had settled back into bed with a magazine she’d stolen from a table at one of the local restaurants, its cover plastered with a promise of “394 Stress-Free Christmas Ideas” being tucked inside the pages. The young woman had just reached idea fifty-four, revealing microwaved marshmallow to be the superior gingerbread house adhesive, when her cell phone vibrated against the window in which it was still propped. The text was blissfully ignored until she completed the list and only then did she work to stretch her torso across her bedside table to retrieve the phone, refusing to pull her legs from beneath the covers as the room’s temperature had steadily been dropping with its only source of heat out of commission.

“Well, huh.” It was rare the Charlie moved with purpose, but seeing as she had ignored an anonymous call to action involving the apparently very real ghost pooch she’d encountered to learn how to make a dollar store wreath, she figured now was a good as any. A pair of dirty overalls from her bedroom floor were yanked over her legs as she headed down the stairs, aged Converse were stepped into at the door, and an oversized fleece flannel stored in her car completed the ensemble.

. . .

Charlie approached the assembled group outside the church with little hesitancy, recognizing some of them from brief interactions in town, but hardly viewing the current crowd as threatening. Despite this, she had backed her vehicle as far as she could down the road, left the doors unlocked, and secured her key to her wrist with a hair elastic. She was picking through old trail mix she’d found in her center console as she searched for the hair tie, the bag now held in the crook of her arm. Meticulously, she was singling out the chocolate pieces as those present all confirmed they were in the same place for the same reason. It was only when a few of the others began to approach the church that she spoke up, making it apparent she’d only been quiet for so long prior because her mouth was full.

“I think that it’s cool that we’re all here together and all to share our experiences, but is anyone wondering how this person, or people, knew we’d all seen the things we had? I haven’t said a thing to anyone. I mean, sure, this is all weird, but just wasn’t sure if I’d missed that conversation before we go rolling up into the creepy as shit church. It’s just that I’ve seen this horror-flick once or twice and it typically ends in about the same way.” Nevertheless, Charlie still moved towards the front door as she rambled, certainly not to be left alone outside.
Rad vibes. A killer playlist. Spook. I AM HERE FOR ALL OF IT.

Question #1: I think an aged cast would allow for a deeper solidification of their individual beliefs and therefore a better likelihood of conflict discussion and fighting to the death for our chosen ideology collaboration. Blind faith is prevalent across all ages, but would naturally fall heavier upon youth. Seems like you're leaning more towards people who know what and why they accept what they do, until being hit with this new supernatural variable.

Question #2: Was going to suggest the multiple incidents to allow for connections with a bit more freedom, but you’ve hit on it. "Yea" from me!

“Don't go 'round tonight
It's bound to take your life
There's a bad moon on the rise"

This familiar, classic tune had sent the 1960’s out with nothing short of a daunting message. Currently, the starkly different, almost chipper beat accompanying the dark lyrics was spilling from an agape doorway out into the hallway of what one would assume to be an apartment complex with its identical entryways. It’s heavily worn carpeting, peeling paint, and occasional adornment of vulgar messages upon the walls in spray paint made it evident that care for the building was minimal at best.

Elsie swung her body about her new space with a haphazard grace, an oxymoron that could truly be used to describe her existence. She never seemed to leave the balls of her bare feet as she danced along to the song, a mug of warmth still clasped in her grasp. Waves of its dark contents threatened to escape over the edge with each abrupt turn, but to no attention of the girl. She slowed only with the final notes and unceremoniously dropped herself into an oversized armchair, its age disguised with a draped blanket.

She had finally done it. Her name was on the lease. A deposit was placed. This was entirely hers. She had long convinced herself that the apartment’s age and current state only added personality to her first home. The rent was more than affordable and the neighbors had been nothing but kind, offering her “tree” and “snow” on multiple occasions even just within these first days. Apparently hiking was extremely popular here. One had even invited her to join him as he left on a business venture across the country. He’d thought up the ingenious idea of door-to-door magazine sales. She’d have considered, but the lease was already signed and living in a vehicle had long lost its charm.

Curling her feet beneath her, Elsie drew in a deep breath and trapped the air in her lungs for a moment, as if refusing to let any of what she was feeling go. “This is good.”

The woman’s shift in weight as she adjusted in her chair had caught the remote control beneath her hip, flipping the television from music streaming to the local news. Diligent in her efforts to keep herself from being exposed to the more negative aspects of the town, she quickly moved to change it back. However, she halted as the reported mentioned Azure Lake.

The name sounded familiar and the photo seemingly floating beside the newscaster’s head was of a gorgeous scenic area, though it was now tainted with yellow crime scene tape. The realization came fairly quickly that this was the lake she had been camping beside for the past couple weeks, but the shock of hearing what had occurred there fell deep into her stomach before rising to lodge itself in her throat. They took his toes? The further revelation that she had been sleeping in the woods with a murderer sent her flying from her seat to throw her front door shut, latching it tightly.

“This is not good.”

(If you'll have one more!)


Bluetooth earbuds discreetly tucked beneath neatly-formed curtains of bright hair had been Rosalyn’s saving grace for much of the morning. However, she still offered wide smiles to familiar faces and engaged in conversations that warranted or expected her participation. The parties planned for the first week back, who had grown facial hair over the summer, and the newest relationship updates were all topics of interest.

Felix Brooks and his long-time girlfriend Claire had finally called it quits, a game of chess that Rosalyn had long been dabbling in. But, really, if a few playful forearm touches was enough to break the two, were they really doing that well? She had done Felix a favor by helping to free him from that situation. Claire was sour, spoiled with jealousy, and therefore doing everything she could to save her name, even if it meant sacrificing someone else’s.

Preparing for, managing, and even fulfilling rumors about her had become a part-time job for Rosalyn Osborne, though she saw it more as a hobby. Each day she seemed to learn more about who she was. She wasn’t aware that she had been raised in foster homes until last year. Good ‘ol Joseph Osborne was her very own Daddy Warbucks according to Mathers Memorial High. She had slept with more people than she had even shared a hello with, had spent time in jail for arson, and had paid her way out of a failed semester once. All of these stories unbeknownst to their main character until the whispers eventually found their way back to her.

Rosalyn hurriedly nudged her way through the library’s main doors with her shoulder, as both hands were occupied and her bag was slowly, and painfully, descending down her arm. Her fingers were stretched around and threaded between three disposable coffee cups, a familiar logo plastered on the side. It had been easy to slip out of the school to Joe’s once the assembly had been called to an end and would be even easier to later claim her first-day tardiness was due to class confusion.

Rosalyn moved to Mrs. Macleod’s desk with a genuine smile, skillfully placing one of the cups there while still holding a grip on the remaining two. The older woman raised her head from deep within a book, staring down her nose and through the pair of glasses teetering at its end. She reflected the grin offered back, seemingly pleased to recognize the student.

“Now, Wanda, you feel free to add something a little warmer to this. That hip is not gonna be happy with the way you were throwing it back out there.” A wink from the young woman was swatted out of the air by Mrs. Macleod, but even she couldn't help but chuckle at herself.

Free reign to the library during lunch periods and after the school day had come at the small price of occasional gifts to and conversation with the librarian. This unspoken deal was solidified last year when this escape was the only thing keeping Rosalyn relatively sane. Well, this was still to be determined. She moved to her usual spot in a far corner concealed by shelving, placing the remaining drinks on a side table, one on each side, and settling into an oversized armchair with cushions that had been long used and abused. Despite the inescapable fluorescent lights strewn throughout the entire school, this little nook had proven to be relatively comfortable.

The Sound and the Fury was settled open into Rosalyn’s lap, her page previously held by a bobby pin she was now twirling between her teeth. Half of her notebook page had been filled and much of her coffee had been drained before she realized she was still alone there. Maybe he got caught up. And it was the first day back. Expecting him to even remember this routine was silly. She feigned her disappointment with a roll of her eyes, though she couldn’t help but glance to the now chilled cup of chai tea, his name delicately scrawled in cursive ink across the side. Even the barista had remembered who it was being made for.

. . .

“Aw, wow! What a collection of bargain thrift store finds!” Rosalyn chirped as she stepped into the classroom. The unique arrangement of furniture was hard to ignore, but it was no accident that Rosalyn’s gaze bounced between Aiden Roth and a few of the others already seated with this comment. “I mean, the decor has some vintage, boho-esque vibes too... Cute.”

Jonas Lehrer was the next person her attention fell to, her eyebrows raising and lips pursing slightly. “Ahem. Definitely cute,” she muttered, finding a place for herself.

This was strange. The wild collage of personalities forced into the space, half of which had names she couldn’t remember, was enough to throw Rosalyn off. Then suddenly there was a dog? And talk of the Jonas brothers, who had lost all of her interest after each being married off. Rosalyn's palms had grown damp and she instinctively raised her shoulders in an attempt to draw more air into her lungs. Some sort of control over this situation was required and she was quickly to her feet in front of the group, though she remained stationed in front of her seat. Walking to the front in this state, in these heels, on this ancient floor was asking for embarrassment.

“Hello, my name is Rosalyn,” the young woman paused to slightly nod her head forward in a greeting. “A part of my identify that I think would be valuable to share is that I would actually rather be at a picnic with the Donner Party than be standing here right now.”

Rosalyn’s voice maintained the same chime it always did when she knew she was being ill-tempered. She clasped her hands in front of herself and scanned the space, mannerisms synonymous to that of a preschool teacher managing a room full of toddlers. This was entirely a deliberate way for her to mock the exercise she was being forced to endure without actually giving Mr. Lehrer a reason to reprimand her for it.

“I hope we can all get to know one another on a more personal level before I officially decide whether or not I will toss myself out of that window,” a quick gesture of her hand demonstrated the exact glass pane she would launch herself through,“or before we all get diagnosed with Mesothelioma from the asbestos now floating around in our lungs.”

Textured froth bubbled from behind Mrs. Lilith Osborne’s pale lips and flowed down her chin. Her attempts at a verbal protests were stifled by the thickness, each exhalation sending the fluid billowing outward. A thin framed woman was leaned over the head of the bed and her shouting, along with the way she was frantically tapping at Osborne’s shoulders, revealed her panic at the situation.

“Ma’am, are you okay?! Ma’am!” Unceremoniously, a gob of the substance was projected outward, landing with a sort of sickening thwap against the cheek of the concerned woman. A stunned moment of silence passed between the two as the nurse raised a tentative hand to the matter strewn across her face.

“You gave her sweetened. She won’t eat it. You’ve only got a chance in hell with unsweetened.”

Rosalyn was settled in the doorway with her shoulder propped against the frame, having previously been watching the eventful encounter in silence. In one hand she held a jar of applesauce, dipping her opposite pinky into it and bringing the finger to her tongue. Smugness dripped from the girl’s own lips, their corners turned upward as she made no effort to disguise her amusement.

Lisa had arrived in the home only last week and this was not the first time she’d been spit on by the home’s matriarch. It certainly would not be the last. Nurses typically only lasted a month or two. Housekeepers often held out for longer, their biggest complaint usually being emptying Mr. Osborne’s bedroom trash can.

“He could at least put a liner in if he’s going to make me do this!”
”‘Enough latex here for a damn Macy’s parade.”
“He’s killing the ocean single-handedly.”

“I- I didn-” The nurse began, though her words lodged themselves in her throat as the girl started towards them.

“You don’t need to be such a wretched witch about it, though, Mother. The dramatics are just unattractive.” Rosalyn haphazardly dropped the jar down onto the surface of the nightstand situated next to the woman’s hospital bed. That bed was the only thing in the room that Mr. Osborne allowed to reveal there was sickness present in the house. Besides the body wasting away in the center of it all, of course. Syringes and vials were tucked in drawers, the machines pumping necessary fluids were silenced, windows were yanked open anytime an unnatural smell emerged from behind the closed door. Anyone around long enough would begin to wonder what the inside of Lilith’s head was like, how tightly that prison door was shut, and Rosalyn was certainly no exception.

The young woman lowered herself beside her mother, a vast expanse of vacant space left in the bed, and carefully wiped away the remnants of the applesauce from her chin with a bare thumb. Eyes identical to her own were fixated on the ceiling just above her head, rhythmic blinking the only sign that there may be a soul tucked deep behind them.

“Daddy says the harvest is looking to be one of the better we’ve seen if they sprayed late enough this year… Should mean he’s less of a prick, but who can ever be sure.” Rosalyn had moved to sweeping stray pieces of auburn hair from Lilith’s forehead with her clean hand, tucking them neatly behind her ear. The two had once shared their eccentric hair color, but age had muted and darkened the eldest’s.

“Maybe we hire the O’Hare boys to work again this season. I’ll turn your bed to face the window and make sure their shirts stay off. Give you a better show than those shitty rom-coms someone’s always blaring in here.” Sharp eyes flickered aside to land on Lisa, who had sheepishly tucked herself in a far corner near the door. The way the nurse’s eyes had widened and her hands wrung relentlessly left Rosalyn wondering if she would begin bashing her head into the walls, similar to the way rabbits do when they’re trapped in tight spaces. The blatant weakness that practically dripped from the woman's pores was enough to pull Rosalyn to her feet. Blood in the water.

“Why don’t you go ahead and clean her up for me, will you?” She inquired, the staunch clicking of her heeled boots warning of her approach. “And after, take a minute to read her care plan, you helpless goon. She spit out half of her morning meds. If you’d done so before, you would know what she does and does not like.” Rosalyn had pressed her soiled thumb against the woman’s chest with force, swiping it back and forth to smear the applesauce off onto her scrub top. Slowly, she hinged forward, leaning in until their noses nearly brushed against one another and Lisa could smell the artificial sweetness of her lip gloss.

Rosalyn’s voice naturally fell at a high octave, but as she began to speak again, her pitch lifted further. Her words flowed almost as a song, though they were saturated with a certain malice. “Screw up again and I might just be forced to tell Daddy how I watched you shove a spoon into the back of her throat while you held her there,” Rosalyn’s voice hitched and cracked as if this was a craft she had mastered. “The way she gurgled and cried… The look in her eyes as she clawed at the sheets.” Within those few sentences, tears began welling up from the corners of her eyes, spilling over only when she cringed away at her own words, as if in pain herself. “How could someone be so awful to someone so helpless?”

With a sigh, Rosalyn took a step away, pulling her hands through her hair and ruffling the roots. Diligently, she dabbed beneath her eyes with the sides of her fingers, careful not to disrupt her mascara as she lifted away any residual dampness. As if to pull the curtains on her short monologue, a broad smile heightened the rosey apples of her cheeks.

“Well! Ahem, I’m off to school! Busy day. Can’t imagine I’ll be home for supper.”

. . .

Rosalyn drummed her thumbs against her steering wheel to the beat of whatever song escaped her speakers loud enough to null her own thoughts. She was late, of course, but drove the speed limit anyway. Rushing to get to Mather Memorial just meant more time standing at her locker listening to one of the girls tell her, in detail, how having sex in a summer camp bunk bed was the most exilerating experience of her life. She’d pass on that. Daddy would call Fitzgerald to have her excused anyway.

Unmistakable, a red Jeep pulled into its designated spot at the front of the full parking lot, won by the Osborne’s in an auction to support the school’s athletic department. Despite the time, Rosalyn unbuckled and settled back into her seat, staring outward at the school’s entrance. It was a whole lot less intimidating from the outside. Just a lot of ugly brick and an old tree. “Should’ve just left it a jail. Practically the same thing,” the young woman muttered, eyes still fixated in front of her.

Finally, in a burst of sudden movement as if realizing just how late she now was, she leaned over and tugged open the glove box. Amongst various lip sticks and a pair of black flat shoes left there in case of an emergency, sat a small orange bottle with a white screw top. Seemingly frustrated at the action itself, Rosalyn aggressively squeezed at the child-locked cap and emptied a single pill into her palm. She tossed it back into her mouth before pulling a drink from the coffee mug tucked between her thighs. The bottle was situated back where it came from, Rosalyn checked her lipstick once more in the rearview mirror, and the driver's side door was finally pushed open.

"Let's get it."
Let's get some cute boys in there please! <3

@Hillan@Lord Wraith@Daydreamz

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