Place: Coalfell, 1PM
Interactions: None (so far)
Carolina felt like she was walking in a memory. It wasn't a happy memory, exactly, more one of those distant and clouded ones, but the woman couldn't say she despised it either. The street she now walked was the same old street she'd been running up and down as a young girl. Even the intensity of the sun felt familiar, as much as Carrie hated it.
Coalfell still stood here, frozen in time. Everything was looking a bit more worn down and faded by the burning sun. A significant amount of establishments had closed down since Carolina's last visit nearly two decades ago. Even still, it felt like Coalfell hadn't changed a bit.
Carolina, however, had changed.
There was a certain sense of nostalgia to being here. Carrie hadn't been sure if she'd be able to handle it, but now that she was present, roaming the barren streets... She felt nothing, nothing at all. Carrie definitely stood out like a sore thumb, standing in the middle of a dusty street with cracked pavement in her stylish trousers and a white tank top. She'd once left Coalfell behind, and hadn't looked back since. She'd gotten a life for herself. She wasn't the same girl who everyone in the town knew. No longer was she running to bring her father lunch to the gas station. Hell, the gas station was probably well out of business, by now. No one visited the town.
The dreamy woman looked around the main plaza, the memory of the buildings around her coming back slowly. Some she'd already forgotten, if not most. If there was one thing she hadn't forgotten, it was Momma May's. Looking at the modest café across the street, Carrie smiled ruefully. She could recall all the good times she'd been to there with her brothers, eating chocolate chip pancakes and milkshake with that fancy whipped cream on top. Of course Carrie now knew it hadn't been anything special - just whipped cream from a bottle - but as a child it had been the best treat in town.
She also remembered the bad times. All the times she'd gone there to drag her father home from the bar late at night when he hadn't shown up home. The times when he was too drunk to stand straight, words slurring and mixing with the acrid stench of alcohol. Yeah. Carrie wasn't sure if she was ready to go inside, not yet. There was a certain safety, observing from a small distance. She wasn't ready to face all those old memories, nor was she ready to see how the place had inevitably changed in her absence. Was the place even run by the kind old lady anymore? The one who had sometimes given little Carolina something sweet for free, practically spoiling her when no one else would, but who could still kick the drunk people's asses if they started any trouble? Carrie wasn't sure if she wanted to know.
There was a gang of men in biker jackets smoking in the corner of Momma May's. Carolina instantly recognised them. She couldn't believe Red Wolves were still a thing, but she supposed not many things changed around here after all. They were all relatively young, too young to be the same members Carolina had seen cruising around as a kid, but the aesthetic was the same. They weren't to be messed around with, that much Carolina knew. There was still a small childlike part of her that feared them, but they were the only ones she could see around, so...
"'scuse me," Carrie spoke up, her voice almost cracking from the dry, dusty air. She walked towards the bikers who were leaning on their shiny motorcycles, gaining their attention. Steeling herself, Carrie kept her head held high.
"Whassa lovely lady like yourself want from us boys?" one of the bikers sneered, his crooked teeth forming a nasty smile. He looked young, maybe in his mid-twenties. Carolina tried to study his face, all of their faces really, to see if she recognised any of them. It was a shame her face memory was absolute rubbish.
"I'm lookin' to find--" Carrie began, only to be interrupted by a scoff that sounded half a cough, half a laughter.
"Looking? In this town we ain't taking so kindly to strangers who are lookin' for stuff," another biker bit back.
"Yea, we don't like outsiders snoopin' around," a third agreed. He had a patchy stubble and wildly styled hair, face littered with piercings that didn't quite honestly suit him. Carrie's nerves flared, her voice gaining firmness as she quipped back:
"Good thing I'm not a stranger, then. I grew up here, for fuck's sake."
Carrie let her eyes meet with each of the bikers. There were six of them. A few looked taken aback, one - the older looking one - seemed puzzled, and the three remaining ones stayed unfazed.
"An' I know who you are. Since when don't the Red Wolves have no manners?" Carrie challenged. Mister patchy beard seemed to be provoked by that, since his hands balled into fists and he took a step forward, about to tell Carrie off. However he was paused by the oldest looking biker, probably well in his forties, by a forceful hand on the shoulder.
"Hold on," he said, "you do look oddly familiar."
"Oh come o--"
"Shut the fuck up," he barked as the younger biker protested, his eyes never leaving Carrie's. "Who are you?"
Carrie smiled despite herself, corners of her mouth twitching up even though her gaze remained challenging.
"I'm Jefforey's daughter," Carrie replied, her Southern accent twisting the words. "Which is what I was here to ask you gentlemen. Is he still around?"
It took a moment, but soon realisation dawned on the oldest biker's face. He looked astonished, the tobacco actually dropping from between his fingers.
"No fucking way," he deadpanned. "Jefforey? As in Jenkins?" he asked, although it seemed he already knew the answer. Carrie tried to remember if she'd met this man while she still lived here, but she couldn't match the face to a name. It was all so distant.
"Guys, this is Jefforey and June Jenkins' youngest -- this is Christian's baby sister right here! Little Carrie, my fucking god you've grown into a woman," the biker boss exclaimed, shock still written all over his face. Carolina frowned at the mention of her name, confused that this man would recognise her. She'd aimed for them to recognise her father, but apparently Carrie had known this man too? What was his name again...
"It's me, Dave. Don'tcha remember me? Fuck, I can't believe it really is you lil Carrie. It's been a while, you're all sexy and grown up. How's Chris?"
Oh. Of course. A more genuine smile overtook Carrie's face as she remembered Dave. He'd just graduated high school by the time Carrie was ten. He'd been very tight with Carrie's older brother Christian back then. They'd gotten into all kinds of trouble back then, much to her parents' and Matthew's annoyment.
Wow, he looked so different now.
"Oh yeah, Dave! I think I remember you," Carrie nodded as she evaded a touchy feely bear hug with a firm handshake instead. All the other bikers seemed thoroughly confused, and what seemed like the newest addition looked also annoyed.
"Chris' fine or at least he was the last I heard from him. He hasn't really kept in touch, you know how it is between him and Matt."
Dave grinned, saying something to his buddies before turning back to Carolina.
"And you? What are you doing back in this shitass excuse of a town? No wait, you said you were lookin' for your old man," Dave said.
"Yeah... I mean, I didn't anticipate I'd be ever coming back, but... Got the news that mom passed away so."
Dave's gaze softened at Carrie's words.
"I'd say I'm sorry for your loss, but I know how you lot felt about her. Still, blood's tight. She was your momma after all." Carrie gave a curt nod, her mind wandering away briefly. What was she doing here, anyway?
"Anyhow, Jeff's around though. Haven't seen him in a while but I know he hasn't left the town..." Dave begun, an ounce of hesitation entering his voice.
"Yea, he lost his job like ten years ago when the gas station closed down. He's still around, just ain't doin' so hot," one of the other bikers added in. Carrie frowned, nodding at the information. It didn't really surprise her, but it still wasn't nice to hear.
"And... he's still living in our old house?" the brunette asked, turning the leather bracelet around her wrist nervously. Dave and a few of the other bikers exchanged looks that didn't make Carrie feel any more at ease. A sense of dread coiled in the bottom of her stomach.
"Our house, it... It still exists, right?" she asked, eyes studying the tiniest change in their faces. Anything that could give away the bad news.
"It does," Dave nodded, though he wouldn't meet Carrie's gaze, "it's just not exactly... uh, in a habitable condition." He seemed to pick his words carefully.
Carrie wasn't sure why the news made her feel so empty inside. Why did she care? She'd left Coalfell almost twenty years ago with no intention of ever looking back. So why was the news that their old house was probably no more than an overgrown backyard and broken windows so crushing?
"Thanks, Dave. I'll... I'll see you around," Carrie nodded before turning to leave.