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 Post subject: Wha... where am I?
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 12:25 am 
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Location: 1313 mockingbird lane
The ringing in your ears won't stop. Does your head hurt?

Okay...

Looking around, you find yourself in a large canvas tent roughly the size of a one bedroom house. You are not alone.

Other people are among you: some huddled in small groups, others crawling around screaming or moaning in fetal positions, and still others lie face down... immobile.

Some of the faces seem familiar somehow.

What do you do? Also give a general description of who you are, what you do for a living and any other details you care to share.

---

Game Notes: Everyone and anyone is welcome to participate-- at any point. Just respond to this first post and I'll catch your character up. I can't guarantee an immediate response after each post, but I'll do my best. Anyone (myself included) may reserve the right to bail if there's a loss of interest.

Warning: Expect the mortality rate here to be rather high. Feel free to introduce new characters as old ones expire. Enjoy.


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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 5:37 pm 
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Water. My tongue is parched and the backs of my teeth feel like high grit sandpaper, surely there is something to drink around here somewhere. Maybe a bathroom sink with a faucet, mental image punctuated by the sudden realization of a welling pressure in my loins. Memories of past bathrooms; the off-white two decade old toro surrounded by peeling texture of home, the enormous white American standard with the turbine-esque flush behind the Employees Only sign at the sandwich shop, and the piano black Kohler with the two-way handle in that marble and gold enclosure only justifiable to coprophiliacs and the independently wealthy retired at Diane's parents' home. I place my feet beneath me and push into a vignette; pinprick of canvas surrounded by the dark echoless unconscious void. The horizon unfurls like wrapping paper, a staccato slash of black nylon running perpendicular to it past my head. There an unkempt stray thread at the top, a line thrown to a man almost gone and awash in the immensity of the oceans, I reach to it and tug.



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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 2:51 am 
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Wintermute wrote:
Water. My tongue is parched and the backs of my teeth feel like high grit sandpaper, surely there is something to drink around here somewhere. Maybe a bathroom sink with a faucet, mental image punctuated by the sudden realization of a welling pressure in my loins. Memories of past bathrooms; the off-white two decade old toro surrounded by peeling texture of home, the enormous white American standard with the turbine-esque flush behind the Employees Only sign at the sandwich shop, and the piano black Kohler with the two-way handle in that marble and gold enclosure only justifiable to coprophiliacs and the independently wealthy retired at Diane's parents' home. I place my feet beneath me and push into a vignette; pinprick of canvas surrounded by the dark echoless unconscious void. The horizon unfurls like wrapping paper, a staccato slash of black nylon running perpendicular to it past my head. There an unkempt stray thread at the top, a line thrown to a man almost gone and awash in the immensity of the oceans, I reach to it and tug.
"Hey buddy, get your goddamn hands off my fishing line," a husky voice commands.

The thread you held recoils back to the rod in the would-be fisherman's hand, leaving a crimson paper-cut-thin scar on your palm. The pole's a shoddy bamboo number with a clumsy jury-rigged spool. Your new friend leaves with a sneer.

Outside the canvas tent, your vision gets accustomed to the low light and you realize that you are still enclosed within... something. It's too dark to tell exactly. But something about the acoustics out here isn't quite right.

In a temporary stillness you hear the trickling of a stream. Or perhaps a brook? Whatever it is, it's not helping your nagging need to answer nature's call. It also most likely holds the thirst-slaking respite you desire. The sound emanates from roughly ten yards just beyond the tent door flap.

Just as it is within the tent, people are scattered here and there in varied states of wellbeing.

The ground violently shakes. A woman before you falls to the floor clutching her head, desperately screaming, "Get down!"


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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 3:40 pm 
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My head is reeling and I feel like up is down. I try to stand but the dizziness takes over. Flashes of screams and open flesh wounds spilling to the floor. My head rests on a body. Feels soft, wet and warm. A strange sense of comfort rolls over me and I feel my lips wanting to suckle. I break open my eyes to find myself on the body of a dead woman. Not really a dead body but the torso. I quickly pull away and recoil. My right hand is sheathed in the viscous innards.
"Oh Gahh! What happened?"
I stumble back away tripping over more bodies. Some are still alive but my guts tell me they will be dead too, soon. I make my way to the end of the canvas tent canopy. Smeared hand stains are scrawled in torturous drips. I crawl under the canvas but is shi\ocked by what I see...



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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 12:54 pm 
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I woke up with a start. I was lying on my back, staring up at a canvas ceiling. Moans and scuffles and mumbles drifted to my ears. Out of my peripheral vision I saw other people shuffling about, trying to get their bearings. Double-you tee eff? OK, Caruso, what did you get yourself into NOW?

Alright, first things first. Let's take inventory. I sat up on my elbows and looked down at myself. My scrawny frame was still garbed in my bright orange inmate's uniform. I seemed to be intact as well. No broken bones, no missing fingers... I was in better shape than some of the people around me. About the only problem I had was a faintly lingering headache that was already receding.

Next order of business, determine if there was a threat nearby. I sat up fully and looked around. Lots of other people, some just lying there, some shivering in fetal positions, some up and around. One or two people had found an opening in the canvas and were stepping outside. No one seemed to be an immediate threat.

Ok, I wasn't hurt and no one was likely to hurt me in the immediate future. Next up then, was to do a little scavenging. I crawled to the nearest inert body. It was a woman who seemed to be about forty or so. She was out of shape in a lumpy sort of way, and had a velour running suit on, one of those ironies of life that never get old. I checked for a pulse and couldn't find one. Not that I'm an expert. But whatever. Next to her body was a large red fake leather purse with some of the contents spewed on the ground. I quickly looted through the items, looking for something remotely useful or valuable in a situation like this. Of course, it would be helpful if I actually knew what this situation was.



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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 1:47 pm 
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Skyman wrote:
My head is reeling and I feel like up is down. I try to stand but the dizziness takes over. Flashes of screams and open flesh wounds spilling to the floor. My head rests on a body. Feels soft, wet and warm. A strange sense of comfort rolls over me and I feel my lips wanting to suckle. I break open my eyes to find myself on the body of a dead woman. Not really a dead body but the torso. I quickly pull away and recoil. My right hand is sheathed in the viscous innards.
"Oh Gahh! What happened?"
I stumble back away tripping over more bodies. Some are still alive but my guts tell me they will be dead too, soon. I make my way to the end of the canvas tent canopy. Smeared hand stains are scrawled in torturous drips. I crawl under the canvas but is shi\ocked by what I see...

Your heart's near to bursting with anxiety. Head throbbing. Dizzy. Vision blurred.

As you stumble toward the only visible exit, you take a second look at the horror you just left behind. Aided by the low light which filters inside when you part the tent door flap. What you see sends shivers up your spine.

The torso you woke up on is still there, as motionless as you left it, but you realize it isn't quite... organic. You halt, slowly processing what you see. It's contour appears that of a woman, but somehow synthetic. A flash of memory from your CPR classes at the Y clicks the image into place.

The torso is a part of a CPR dummy, nearby its disemboweled air bladders and tubes, glistening in what amounts to industrial lubricant. This revelation releases a sigh of relief.

But, as reassured as you are of this new discovery, it hits you: that has to be blood smeared on the tent walls. Of that there's no doubt. (Just as unsettling is the fact you are 100% absolutely sure of this. Somehow you know you've seen a lot of blood in your life. But where?) The sanguine strokes seem to cipher something onto the canvas. A message? You can't be sure.

As you step out of the tent, you are overcome with a foreboding sense of danger. A vision. Flashes of a massive earthquake which makes the ground tremble and quake with an animal ferocity.

You take five steps past the canvas tent and hear canines in the distance yelping and howling in terror.

Right then, just as you foresaw, the ground shakes violently.


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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 2:10 pm 
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mordraine wrote:
I woke up with a start. I was lying on my back, staring up at a canvas ceiling. Moans and scuffles and mumbles drifted to my ears. Out of my peripheral vision I saw other people shuffling about, trying to get their bearings. Double-you tee eff? OK, Caruso, what did you get yourself into NOW?

Alright, first things first. Let's take inventory. I sat up on my elbows and looked down at myself. My scrawny frame was still garbed in my bright orange inmate's uniform. I seemed to be intact as well. No broken bones, no missing fingers... I was in better shape than some of the people around me. About the only problem I had was a faintly lingering headache that was already receding.

Next order of business, determine if there was a threat nearby. I sat up fully and looked around. Lots of other people, some just lying there, some shivering in fetal positions, some up and around. One or two people had found an opening in the canvas and were stepping outside. No one seemed to be an immediate threat.

Ok, I wasn't hurt and no one was likely to hurt me in the immediate future. Next up then, was to do a little scavenging. I crawled to the nearest inert body. It was a woman who seemed to be about forty or so. She was out of shape in a lumpy sort of way, and had a velour running suit on, one of those ironies of life that never get old. I checked for a pulse and couldn't find one. Not that I'm an expert. But whatever. Next to her body was a large red fake leather purse with some of the contents spewed on the ground. I quickly looted through the items, looking for something remotely useful or valuable in a situation like this. Of course, it would be helpful if I actually knew what this situation was.

Inside the red pleather purse you find:

1. a Michigan driver's license of one Renee Truffaut-Balfour; "Expires 03/15/88"
2. a yellow Sony walkman with Creedance Clearwater Revival's "Green River"
3. the cassette case for "Green River" with another tape inside labeled "Objectif no. 1012"
4. a tube of Toast of the Town color lipstick
5. a full book of matches from the Chateau Beurre Blanc
6. birth control pills

You take items you think might be useful and shove them in your pocket, and find that it's already occupied with something else: a crude blood-stained shiv fashioned from plastic kitchen utensils.

Just then, the woman scares the wits out of you as she sits bolt upright, wide-eyed and proceeds to run out the tent door screaming, "I saw it, it-- It's coming! Get down!"

Suddenly, the ground rumbles like you've never felt before.


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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 3:31 pm 
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I blinked at the receding figure of Renee Truffaut-Balfour, not quite controlling my open-mouthed look of surprise. But then my mind was occupied with other, more urgent matters. I stumbled and fell on my ass as a massive Earthquake rolled under me. That's right, capital E Earthquake. 9.5, 10.0... whatever. Some big seismic scale number.

I gritted my teeth and crunched my eyes closed. With nothing better to do while I waited for the Earthquake to either (a) subside or (b) rip the earth asunder and consume me whole, I slipped the anachronistic walkman's headphones over my ears and pressed play. The pleasing tunes of "Bad Moon Rising" spiked into my ears and I turned up the volume to mask out both the sound of tectonic thunder, and the sound of screaming, hysterical people around me. Really, what's the use of that? Sure, I was scared shitless, but run around and scream like an idiot? Not ol' Caruso. I mean, come on.



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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 6:00 pm 
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mordraine wrote:
I blinked at the receding figure of Renee Truffaut-Balfour, not quite controlling my open-mouthed look of surprise. But then my mind was occupied with other, more urgent matters. I stumbled and fell on my ass as a massive Earthquake rolled under me. That's right, capital E Earthquake. 9.5, 10.0... whatever. Some big seismic scale number.

I gritted my teeth and crunched my eyes closed. With nothing better to do while I waited for the Earthquake to either (a) subside or (b) rip the earth asunder and consume me whole, I slipped the anachronistic walkman's headphones over my ears and pressed play. The pleasing tunes of "Bad Moon Rising" spiked into my ears and I turned up the volume to mask out both the sound of tectonic thunder, and the sound of screaming, hysterical people around me. Really, what's the use of that? Sure, I was scared shitless, but run around and scream like an idiot? Not ol' Caruso. I mean, come on.

"...akes and lightnin'.
I see bad times today.

Don't go around tonight,
Well, it's bound to take your life,
There's a bad moon on the rise.

I hear hurricanes ablowing.
I knoooooooooooooooooooooooooo..."

The walkman slo-mos to a dead halt as Fogerty's lyrics are supplanted by screams and thunderous rumbling. Dead batteries, in all probability. "Someone help!" shouts a prostrate young man in his twenties.

After a minute, the earthquake subsides. An eerie silence masks over everything for two breaths.

A high frequency whistle tears through the canopy ceiling, killing the young man who was lying not five yards from you. Several others drop dead from blunt force trauma as the sky starts to fall. Craggy rocks begin to litter the tent's interior, demolishing the structure, as people start for the exit en masse.


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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 10:28 pm 
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I blink and grab the side of some jagged uprooted concrete for support. After getting my feet under me I make my way to what I think is barking up ahead. I check my pockets to see what i have. The feeling of apprehension curls my back hair but I move forward.
"Shit....shit...shit..."



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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 12:15 am 
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Skyman wrote:
I blink and grab the side of some jagged uprooted concrete for support. After getting my feet under me I make my way to what I think is barking up ahead. I check my pockets to see what i have. The feeling of apprehension curls my back hair but I move forward.
"Shit....shit...shit..."

The concrete you buttress yourself up against is hot to the touch, and actually turns out to be not concrete at all, but rather an amorphous piece of rough, extremely hard, porous rock. The area is being hailed on by chunks of the stuff, all in various size.

As you walk toward the sounds of canines in the distance ahead, you take a look at your surroundings. Out of the corner of your eye you see a seemingly calm man in an orange jumpsuit emerging from the remains of the tent you were just at. You note that he wears a set of out-of-date headphones.

This curious sight almost causes you to trip over a body on the ground. Immediately before you is a woman in a duck-and-cover position, bedecked in a velour tracksuit. Beyond her is the figure of someone you can't quite make out.

It dawns on you that you can't see too far past this last figure because everything is slowly becoming blanketed by what appears to be a choking miasma of... smoke? No, it's more substantial. More like... volcanic ash.

In desperation you distractedly search your pockets to find a Cross ballpoint pen, a tongue depressor, a penlight, and a prescription pad.


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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 12:29 am 
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Wintermute, Skyman, and mordraine:

Love what you've done so far! Please feel free to keep going, however I will be out of town until the end of the month and can't guarantee that I'll have access to the internet.

Your characters are all at a place and time where they may interact with one another without me. I might be able to sign in before I leave today (5/20), and intermittently through my trip, but I just wanted to write this just in case. I'll be back at the first of the month.


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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 10:03 pm 
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Damn it. This situation started fucked up and just got worse from there. I staggered out of the rapidly collapsing remains of the shredded canvas tent, the image of the kid's jagged-rock-impaled body still painted onto my retinas.

Outside, ash billowed, thick as tortilla soup. Oh swell. And me with my bronchial problems. I ripped off the walkman headphones, since the machine had given up the ghost, and jammed the whole thing into my pocket. Say what you want about RJD Correctional Facility jumpsuits, but they had really roomy pockets.

I started off through the swirling ash. Some dude glanced back at me as he headed away from a huge shank of rock embedded in the ground. I stared back, inviting the obvious comment. One helluva cough was building in my chest.



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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 7:08 am 
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mordraine wrote:
Damn it. This situation started fucked up and just got worse from there. I staggered out of the rapidly collapsing remains of the shredded canvas tent, the image of the kid's jagged-rock-impaled body still painted onto my retinas.

Outside, ash billowed, thick as tortilla soup. Oh swell. And me with my bronchial problems. I ripped off the walkman headphones, since the machine had given up the ghost, and jammed the whole thing into my pocket. Say what you want about RJD Correctional Facility jumpsuits, but they had really roomy pockets.

I started off through the swirling ash. Some dude glanced back at me as he headed away from a huge shank of rock embedded in the ground. I stared back, inviting the obvious comment. One helluva cough was building in my chest.

"Didn't you idiots hear me?" Renee asks. "When I say, get down," she continues, "it'd be wise to listen."

In the distance you hear faint animal noises. Further ahead through the smoke you make out a silhouette of a large mountain-- well, volcano, you figure.

Image

Behind you you hear a bevy of injured people wailing and moaning. "Help a lady up?" asks Renee.


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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 9:42 am 
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jimmy corrigan wrote:
"Didn't you idiots hear me?" Renee asks. "When I say, get down," she continues, "it'd be wise to listen."

In the distance you hear faint animal noises. Further ahead through the smoke you make out a silhouette of a large mountain-- well, volcano, you figure.

Behind you you hear a bevy of injured people wailing and moaning. "Help a lady up?" asks Renee.


"Listen lady," I started, but the cough I felt building grabbed a hold and shook my body with loud, violent spasms. Damn that hurt. There was a body about 10 yards away, some hippie by the looks of him. He had a red bandana hanging out of his back pocket. I shuffled over to it, coughing all the way, grabbed the kerchief and tied it around my face, to dampen the effect of the ash on my lungs.

When the coughing fit finally subsided, I turned back to Renee Truffaut-Balfour. She was still sitting on the ground, lifting her hand in my direction, waiting. With an exasperated sigh, I extended my hand and helped her up.

I pointed at the name stenciled over the left breast of my jumper. My voice was muffled through the bandana. "I'm Caruso. What do you know about this place anyway?"



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PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 1:08 am 
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mordraine wrote:
"Listen lady," I started, but the cough I felt building grabbed a hold and shook my body with loud, violent spasms. Damn that hurt. There was a body about 10 yards away, some hippie by the looks of him. He had a red bandana hanging out of his back pocket. I shuffled over to it, coughing all the way, grabbed the kerchief and tied it around my face, to dampen the effect of the ash on my lungs.

When the coughing fit finally subsided, I turned back to Renee Truffaut-Balfour. She was still sitting on the ground, lifting her hand in my direction, waiting. With an exasperated sigh, I extended my hand and helped her up.

I pointed at the name stenciled over the left breast of my jumper. My voice was muffled through the bandana. "I'm Caruso. What do you know about this place anyway?"

"Thanks for the hand, but what makes you think I know anymore about this Godforsaken dump than you do?" she shoots back.

Before you can give an answer she rushes past you and helps a teenaged girl whose leg is caught under a massive rock. "Are you going to stand there all day like a jerk are you going to help me with help this gir-- Hey! Is that my walkman?"


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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 8:57 am 
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jimmy corrigan wrote:
"Thanks for the hand, but what makes you think I know anymore about this Godforsaken dump than you do?" she shoots back.

Before you can give an answer she rushes past you and helps a teenaged girl whose leg is caught under a massive rock. "Are you going to stand there like all day like a jerk are you going to help me with help this gir-- Hey! Is that my walkman?"


Double-you-tee-eff? Does this woman have x-ray eyes? I looked down at the pocket I jammed the walkman into. The headphones were hanging out. Oh. I quickly pushed them back in.

"No. It's not," I answered as matter-of-factly as possible. Whatever you do when you steal shit, you never admit it. To smoke-screen the lie, I moved over to the rock the girl had her leg stuck under and started lifting. Fuck. Ing. Heav. Eee.

"Gimme a hand will you?" I husked to Renee as I struggled. Together we managed to roll it off her. She squealed like, well, like a teenage girl. I bent down to examine the damage to her leg, in a show of concern. Play it to the hilt, that's ol' Caruso.

"What's your name kid?"



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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 9:37 am 
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jimmy corrigan wrote:
The concrete you buttress yourself up against is hot to the touch, and actually turns out to be not concrete at all, but rather an amorphous piece of rough, extremely hard, porous rock. The area is being hailed on by chunks of the stuff, all in various size.

As you walk toward the sounds of canines in the distance ahead, you take a look at your surroundings. Out of the corner of your eye you see a seemingly calm man in an orange jumpsuit emerging from the remains of the tent you were just at. You note that he wears a set of out-of-date headphones.

This curious sight almost causes you to trip over a body on the ground. Immediately before you is a woman in a duck-and-cover position, bedecked in a velour tracksuit. Beyond her is the figure of someone you can't quite make out.

It dawns on you that you can't see too far past this last figure because everything is slowly becoming blanketed by what appears to be a choking miasma of... smoke? No, it's more substantial. More like... volcanic ash.

In desperation you distractedly search your pockets to find a Cross ballpoint pen, a tongue depressor, a penlight, and a prescription pad.


I stumble towards the woman and ask out of blind habit..."Are you alright?" Reactively I hunch over and look periodically at the shadowy figure ahead



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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 7:16 pm 
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Cold. Wet. A brief chuckle, what good fortune to have fallen into a stream mere seconds after pissing myself from fear. Voices in the distance, I stagger towards them, hands running over my arms again and again, a dance as old as the world itself to chase back these demons. "Hello?" The grit is no longer content with the backsides of my teeth, it forces its way into my eyes, my nose, down my throat and into my lungs, my stomach. Between blackened heaves of water I crawl forward. Another voice, closer now, are they speaking to me? "No!" I proclaim, the word weak and childish in my ears.



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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 9:04 pm 
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mordraine wrote:
Double-you-tee-eff? Does this woman have x-ray eyes? I looked down at the pocket I jammed the walkman into. The headphones were hanging out. Oh. I quickly pushed them back in.

"No. It's not," I answered as matter-of-factly as possible. Whatever you do when you steal shit, you never admit it. To smoke-screen the lie, I moved over to the rock the girl had her leg stuck under and started lifting. Fuck. Ing. Heav. Eee.

"Gimme a hand will you?" I husked to Renee as I struggled. Together we managed to roll it off her. She squealed like, well, like a teenage girl. I bent down to examine the damage to her leg, in a show of concern. Play it to the hilt, that's ol' Caruso.

"What's your name kid?"

"Ra-- Rachel," the young woman musters. "Have you seen my mom?"

Skyman wrote:
I stumble towards the woman and ask out of blind habit..."Are you alright?" Reactively I hunch over and look periodically at the shadowy figure ahead

"Don't worry about me, just get this gal some help. Know anything about setting broken bone?" She tears off a sleeve of her velour tracksuit and starts to walk away.

Wintermute wrote:
Cold. Wet. A brief chuckle, what good fortune to have fallen into a stream mere seconds after pissing myself from fear. Voices in the distance, I stagger towards them, hands running over my arms again and again, a dance as old as the world itself to chase back these demons. "Hello?" The grit is no longer content with the backsides of my teeth, it forces its way into my eyes, my nose, down my throat and into my lungs, my stomach. Between blackened heaves of water I crawl forward. Another voice, closer now, are they speaking to me? "No!" I proclaim, the word weak and childish in my ears.

One of them, a woman in a one-sleeved velour tracksuit, approaches with the detached sleeve in hand.

"Hey, you know where I can find some water?" she poses to you. "I need to clean a wound."


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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 2:48 pm 
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jimmy corrigan wrote:
"Ra-- Rachel," the young woman musters. "Have you seen my mom?"


A note in the young girl's voice struck a D-minor, and brought forth unbidden, an image of Yvette's adolescent face, tears and blood streaking it dirty. I clamped down hard on that memory, and tried erasing the emotional response it triggered. Sentimentality had no use here in this screwed up situation. Sentimentality got me into trouble. Sentimentality was a pain in the ass.

Fuck. Too late.

Awkwardly, I mumbled, "Don't worry kid, I'm sure she's around here somewhere. You just lie still okay? We're trying to find someone to help with that leg of yours." At least that's what I hoped Renee had walked off to do. I looked around for her lumpy, velour-encased image.



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"yeah I do. Step aside...well it's not too bad. We need to brace it between two planks after I'm done." I peer at the persons leg and then to the eyes. "I'm the doctor."
"So?"
"Trust me, this is going to hurt." I set the bones back in place and go deaf as the person screams in my ear. "Not pretty...where is hell is that woman?"



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Skyman wrote:
"yeah I do. Step aside...well it's not too bad. We need to brace it between two planks after I'm done." I peer at the persons arm and then to the eyes. "I'm the doctor."
"So?"
"Trust me, this is going to hurt." I set the bones back in place and go deaf as the person screams in my ear. "Not pretty...where is hell is that woman?"


(OOC - Skyman, the bone your character is setting is a leg, attached to a teenage girl who just introduced herself to my character as Rachel.)

I stepped back a bit as a guy came to Rachel's side and acted like he knew what he was doing. She screamed while he reset her broken leg, and I winced in sympathy. I've had a broken bone reset before, and it hurt like a mutherfucker.

"Hey," I said to the erstwhile doctor, "Name's Caruso. I'll see if I can find you something to splint that leg with." I glanced around the ash-filled landscape for something that would suit.



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mordraine wrote:
A note in the young girl's voice struck a D-minor, and brought forth unbidden, an image of Yvette's adolescent face, tears and blood streaking it dirty. I clamped down hard on that memory, and tried erasing the emotional response it triggered. Sentimentality had no use here in this screwed up situation. Sentimentality got me into trouble. Sentimentality was a pain in the ass.

Fuck. Too late.

Awkwardly, I mumbled, "Don't worry kid, I'm sure she's around here somewhere. You just lie still okay? We're trying to find someone to help with that leg of yours." At least that's what I hoped Renee had walked off to do. I looked around for her lumpy, velour-encased image.

I stepped back a bit as a guy came to Rachel's side and acted like he knew what he was doing. She screamed while he reset her broken leg, and I winced in sympathy. I've had a broken bone reset before, and it hurt like a mutherfucker.

"Hey," I said to the erstwhile doctor, "Name's Caruso. I'll see if I can find you something to splint that leg with." I glanced around the ash-filled landscape for something that would suit.

You look around hastily for some sticks or anything to fashion makeshift splints for Rachel's fractured leg. You meander towards the sound of a stream where you find Renee conversing with a stranger.

Off to the left you find some trees with sturdy branches. Perfect splint material.

The ground shakes again. You lose your footing and fall on your ass.


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Skyman wrote:
"yeah I do. Step aside...well it's not too bad. We need to brace it between two planks after I'm done." I peer at the persons leg and then to the eyes. "I'm the doctor."
"So?"
"Trust me, this is going to hurt." I set the bones back in place and go deaf as the person screams in my ear. "Not pretty...where is hell is that woman?"

You reassure the young woman, who seems somewhat relieved by your presence. The ground shakes again as you wait for the woman to return.

"Here. I found some fresh water. You can dress the wound with this," says Renee as she hands you a velour sleeve soaked in cool clean water. "Guy in the orange jumpsuit, I think he said his name's Caruso, is coming with some splints you can use."

You apply the wet cloth trying to clean the wound as best you can. Rachel winces, but takes it like a trooper. You know you'll need a needle to stitch it up, and brace the leg with splints, or it definitely won't heal properly.

You search your pockets again for a needle or something. No luck. But on second glance, you notice something you missed before. The name embroidered on the doctor's coat you're wearing: Dr. Samuel Mansfield MD.

This isn't your name.


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jimmy corrigan wrote:
You reassure the young woman, who seems somewhat relieved by your presence. The ground shakes again as you wait for the woman to return.

"Here. I found some fresh water. You can dress the wound with this," says Renee as she hands you a velour sleeve soaked in cool clean water. "Guy in the orange jumpsuit, I think he said his name's Caruso, is coming with some splints you can use."

You apply the wet cloth trying to clean the wound as best you can. Rachel winces, but takes it like a trooper. You know you'll need a needle to stitch it up, and brace the leg with splints, or it definitely won't heal properly.

You search your pockets again for a needle or something. No luck. But on second glance, you notice something you missed before. The name embroidered on the doctor's coat you're wearing: Dr. Samuel Mansfield MD.

This isn't your name.


Looking at the other people I start to ask if anyone has a needle or a fishing hook with a spool of thread. "People I need this stat!"

In the back of my mind I feel the sudden urge to run away but I stab it off for now.



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Skyman wrote:
Looking at the other people I start to ask if anyone has a needle or a fishing hook with a spool of thread. "People I need this stat!"

In the back of my mind I feel the sudden urge to run away but I stab it off for now.

An older unkempt man, who looks to be in his seventies, walks up to you from a few yards away, shoddy fishing pole in hand. "I believe I can help, doc," he says offering up his fishing hook and line.

"An' here, take a belt of this, son. You look like you need it more than me," he whispers as he hands you a flask of... whiskey by the smell of the breath issuing from his unshaven face. Though you could you use a drink right now, Rachel is on the forefront of your mind. And even if it isn't isopropanol, it should do the trick as an antiseptic for her wound and your "surgical implements."


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jimmy corrigan wrote:
You look around hastily for some sticks or anything to fashion makeshift splints for Rachel's fractured leg. You meander towards the sound of a stream where you find Renee conversing with a stranger.

Off to the left you find some trees with sturdy branches. Perfect splint material.

The ground shakes again. You lose your footing and fall on your ass.


This ass-falling thing was getting old.

But falling on my ass did do one thing for me. It jarred me awake from that idiot sentimentality regarding Rachel. That girl, let's face it, was a total stranger. She wasn't Yvette, that's for damn sure. Probably a spoiled brat. Absolutely no reason to get involved. Caruso for Caruso, that's how it's always been and that's how it should be.

I looked back at the small group gathered around Rachel and I caught a glimpse of her face, clenched in pain as the guy in the doctor's coat worked on her leg. Now why did I do that? Idiot sentimentality. Jeeezus. I'll never learn.

I grabbed some suitable branches to serve as splints and walked back. I dropped them next to the doctor and said, "That should do ya."

I nudged Renee. "Listen, I don't know about you, but that volcano is worrying me. We need to find some shelter for this dog and pony show. I'm gonna look around."



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mordraine wrote:
This ass-falling thing was getting old.

But falling on my ass did do one thing for me. It jarred me awake from that idiot sentimentality regarding Rachel. That girl, let's face it, was a total stranger. She wasn't Yvette, that's for damn sure. Probably a spoiled brat. Absolutely no reason to get involved. Caruso for Caruso, that's how it's always been and that's how it should be.

I looked back at the small group gathered around Rachel and I caught a glimpse of her face, clenched in pain as the guy in the doctor's coat worked on her leg. Now why did I do that? Idiot sentimentality. Jeeezus. I'll never learn.

I grabbed some suitable branches to serve as splints and walked back. I dropped them next to the doctor and said, "That should do ya."

I nudged Renee. "Listen, I don't know about you, but that volcano is worrying me. We need to find some shelter for this dog and pony show. I'm gonna look around."

"Right there with you. We should get moving-- make distance between us and that," replies Renee pointing at the behemoth silhouette. "Looks like the doctor's got Rachel's situation all under control. Why don't I come with you, and we can return back here with what we find?"

As you walk through the ash-laden chaparral punctuated by small outcroppings of trees, you notice that there isn't much out here apart from the demolished tent and stream now a good distance behind you.

The long silence is broken when Renee asks, "So, what'd you do-- forget to pay a parking ticket? Why you in those day glo pajamas?"


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jimmy corrigan wrote:
The long silence is broken when Renee asks, "So, what'd you do-- forget to pay a parking ticket? Why you in those day glo pajamas?"


"Pfff, yeah. Three strikes on parking infractions," I snarked.

Well, there it was. The inevitable question. I was surprised it took this long for someone to ask. On the inside the question was pretty much standard operating procedure. "Whatchoo in for?" Outside... well, actually I never really gave it much thought. Who'da thunk I'd be on the outside with my inmate jumper on?

I could go with something on the fictitious side of things... Masquerade party? Undercover cop? Army-Navy sale? Shyeah right. That'll fly. Aaah... No use hiding what I was.

I let out a long breath before answering.

"OK... look.... I'm um... not proud of it, okay? But I um... I dealt crank. Er... sold drugs." I scribbled a nonchalant expression on my face and waited for the reaction.



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mordraine wrote:
"Pfff, yeah. Three strikes on parking infractions," I snarked.

Well, there it was. The inevitable question. I was surprised it took this long for someone to ask. On the inside the question was pretty much standard operating procedure. "Whatchoo in for?" Outside... well, actually I never really gave it much thought. Who'da thunk I'd be on the outside with my inmate jumper on?

I could go with something on the fictitious side of things... Masquerade party? Undercover cop? Army-Navy sale? Shyeah right. That'll fly. Aaah... No use hiding what I was.

I let out a long breath before answering.

"OK... look.... I'm um... not proud of it, okay? But I um... I dealt crank. Er... sold drugs." I scribbled a nonchalant expression on my face and waited for the reaction.

Renee's brow furrows and her discomfort in receiving the news is palpable. "Sorry to hear that. My second cousin out in Teaneck did some time for the same thing," she says with some reticence. Though you struggle to hear her speak over the simultaneous chatter of a French woman say in hushed somber tones, "Pauvre garçon. Je parie qu'il n'a pas la moindre idée de ce qui nous attend. Nous devrions y être bientôt."

"Too bad. He was the black sheep, but a bright kid, too," Renee continues. Again, simultaneously as if on cue, "Je me demande si il aime Fogerty ou si c'est juste qu'il aime à voler des choses."

You stop in your tracks, as it hits you: the French voice, it's... Renee's. But how? Your conscience reels at the highly improbable proposition coalescing in your mind. It's impossible. People can't read minds. And certainly not you.

"What's wrong?" shoots Renee with a sidelong glance. The sound of her voice collides with the previous hushed somber tones, "Je pense qu'il se passe maintenant. Je me demande si ..."

You both stare at each other speechless for the briefest moment. Then you both hear a familiar sound in the distance. Somewhere, out in the wild chaparral, the shrill unmistakeable ring of an old telephone echoes in the wind.


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jimmy corrigan wrote:
Renee's brow furrows and her discomfort in receiving the news is palpable. "Sorry to hear that. My second cousin out in Teaneck did some time for the same thing," she says with some reticence. Though you struggle to hear her speak over the simultaneous chatter of a French woman say in hushed somber tones, "Pauvre garçon. Je parie qu'il n'a pas la moindre idée de ce qui nous attend. Nous devrions y être bientôt."

"Too bad. He was the black sheep, but a bright kid, too," Renee continues. Again, simultaneously as if on cue, "Je me demande si il aime Fogerty ou si c'est juste qu'il aime à voler des choses."

You stop in your tracks, as it hits you: the French voice, it's... Renee's. But how? Your conscience reels at the highly improbable proposition coalescing in your mind. It's impossible. People can't read minds. And certainly not you.

"What's wrong?" shoots Renee with a sidelong glance. The sound of her voice collides with the previous hushed somber tones, "Je pense qu'il se passe maintenant. Je me demande si ..."

You both stare at each other speechless for the briefest moments. Then you both hear a familiar sound in the distance. Somewhere, out in the wild chaparral, the shrill unmistakeable ring of an old telephone echoes in the wind.


What's wrong, she asks? How 'bout we start with - How the fuck did we all get here on this side of this volcano inside a canvas tent? How 'bout that for starters? But I left that question, as well as several more immediate questions that were yammering around the inside of my head, unasked. Renee may well be something other than her lumpy, velour-encased figure made her out to be, but I'd have to wait to find out.

"Let's get back to that," I said instead. "Why don't we find out where that phone ring is coming from?"



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mordraine wrote:
What's wrong, she asks? How 'bout we start with - How the fuck did we all get here on this side of this volcano inside a canvas tent? How 'bout that for starters? But I left that question, as well as several more immediate questions that were yammering around the inside of my head, unasked. Renee may well be something other than her lumpy, velour-encased figure made her out to be, but I'd have to wait to find out.

"Let's get back to that," I said instead. "Why don't we find out where that phone ring is coming from?"
Neither a master of tracking nor echolocation, Renee does her best alongside you to seek the source of that incessant ringing. It's tinny tones grow louder and more piercing with each step.

You both negotiate through a thick field of dry prickly bushes and shrubs. Your velour-clad walking companion emerges first in a clearing at the other end of the labyrinthine underbrush.

Wide-eyed, she manages to mutter only a few words at her new discovery: "What in the hell?"

Image

The ringing pulls at you.


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FYI: I inserted a photo up in post #14.


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jimmy corrigan wrote:
Neither a master of tracking nor echolocation, Renee does her best alongside you to seek the source of that incessant ringing. It's tinny tones grow louder and more piercing with each step.

You both negotiate through a thick field of dry prickly bushes and shrubs. Your velour-clad walking companion emerges first in a clearing at the other end of the labyrinthine underbrush.

Wide-eyed, she manages to mutter only a few words at her new discovery: "What in the hell?"

The ringing pulls at you.


I paused a fraction of a second, waiting for an echo of French. Nothing was forthcoming, so I mentally shrugged and turned to look full on at this new anomaly that we discovered. Fucking voila, I thought. Then another thought, Excuse my French, and I snickered a little giddily. I amuse myself.

The ringing was teeth-grindingly obnoxious. I stepped up to the red booth (paint was peeling, I noted), opened the door (opened smoothly, I noted), and answered the phone. As much to shut the fucking thing up as to satisfy my curiosity for who it was on the other end. The black, plastic hand-set was cool against my ear.

"Hello, who is this?" I said in a tone that spoke volumes of my irritation.

OOC - incidentally, excellent job on the photos.



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mordraine wrote:
I paused a fraction of a second, waiting for an echo of French. Nothing was forthcoming, so I mentally shrugged and turned to look full on at this new anomaly that we discovered. Fucking voila, I thought. Then another thought, Excuse my French, and I snickered a little giddily. I amuse myself.

The ringing was teeth-grindingly obnoxious. I stepped up to the red booth (paint was peeling, I noted), opened the door (opened smoothly, I noted), and answered the phone. As much to shut the fucking thing up as to satisfy my curiosity for who it was on the other end. The black, plastic hand-set was cool against my ear.

"Hello, who is this?" I said in a tone that spoke volumes of my irritation.
"It's not your fault," a voice softly whispers.

The reception crackles unsquelched, as if broadcast from an ancient walkie talkie. Or perhaps as if the signal's from a long time ago or from a million miles away.

The call echoes faintly, "It's not your fault." You recognize the sweet gentle murmur. The voice. It's Yvette.

Before you can reply, static. Then the familiar A natural of the dial-tone.

"Who is it?" inquires Renee.


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mordraine wrote:
OOC - incidentally, excellent job on the photos.
Google Images is my friend.


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jimmy corrigan wrote:
"It's not your fault," a voice softly whispers.

The reception crackles unsquelched, as if broadcast from an ancient walkie talkie. Or perhaps as if the signal's from a long time ago or from a million miles away.

The call echoes faintly, "It's not your fault." You recognize the sweet gentle murmur. The voice. It's Yvette.

Before you can reply, static. Then the familiar A natural of the dial-tone.

"Who is it?" inquires Renee.


Renee said something, but I wasn't listening. I was too busy blinking tears out of my eyes and anyway my ears were filled with the sound of blood rushing to my head and I had to use all my strength to stay standing upright.

There was just no way that was Yvette. No fucking way. Not unless someone invented the Way-Back Machine. Mr. Peabody was a fucking cartoon character for chrissake.

Oh, and one other tidbit, it clearly WAS my fault. Mom and Dad sure thought so. And so did the court of law. I was not tried as an adult, but the ADA sure did fight for that. Resulted in 3 years of juvie. So the ghostly voice of Yvette or whatever the fuck that phone call was didn't have a clue.

I opened my eyes and a slow rage started building up. I shoved my way out of the phone booth and flung myself at Renee.

"You better tell me what the fuck is going on here RIGHT NOW!" I yelled in her face, grabbing the front of her cheap running suit. "What was that French shit back there a few minutes ago? Who are you?"



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mordraine wrote:
Renee said something, but I wasn't listening. I was too busy blinking tears out of my eyes and anyway my ears were filled with the sound of blood rushing to my head and I had to use all my strength to stay standing upright.

There was just no way that was Yvette. No fucking way. Not unless someone invented the Way-Back Machine. Mr. Peabody was a fucking cartoon character for chrissake.

Oh, and one other tidbit, it clearly WAS my fault. Mom and Dad sure thought so. And so did the court of law. I was not tried as an adult, but the ADA sure did fight for that. Resulted in 3 years of juvie. So the ghostly voice of Yvette or whatever the fuck that phone call was didn't have a clue.

I opened my eyes and a slow rage started building up. I shoved my way out of the phone booth and flung myself at Renee.

"You better tell me what the fuck is going on here RIGHT NOW!" I yelled in her face, grabbing the front of her cheap running suit. "What was that French shit back there a few minutes ago? Who are you?"
"Let go of me, Caruso! Calm down and let go of me right now," she manages between the impotent jerks of her arms. "You know who the hell I am! It's me Renee. Y'know, Renee: the name on the driver's license you found while rifling through my purse, the owner of the walkman in your pocket! Who was that on the phone? And what exactly do you mean by French shi--"

As if on cue: "La conversion... il est manifeste. Trop tôt. Décrochage."

Her countenance washes over with recognition and new understanding. Adjusting her tone and tack, "Look, I'll tell you all I know about this... place. But it's going to be hard to swallow at first. We're... we're changing. I've been here a long time, and so far as I and the others here can tell we're changing." She looks down at your lanky figure and explains, "It's why I can see that you have my walkman in your pocket, why I can see you have a metal rod in your once-fractured left leg. And judging by the French you say you heard back there, my guess is that those are my subconscious thoughts you're picking up. Bateson says emergence manifests itself differently for everyone. Look, I'd love to tell you more, but you're sort of... crushing my outfit."

As you contemplate whether or not to let go of Renee's abundant frame, the ground violently shakes as the both of you tumble at the threshold of the phone booth. You notice a folded scrap of paper wedged between one of the low glass panes and the door frame.

Genuine panic resonates in Renee's shrill voice, "Look we got to find shelter and quick. The others we left behind are depending on us!"


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Looks up after finishing the wounds. Walks over to the side and looks around for the best path to run away



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Skyman wrote:
Looks up after finishing the wounds. Walks over to the side and looks around for the best path to run away
"Nice work, Doc," the older man says as he helps the teenage girl up. "The name's Will, but you can call me Bateson," he bellows to you both.

"Rachel," the girl releases between short whimpers of pain. She manages to limp forward using Bateson for support. "Where do we go now? We need to find my mom," the girl cries accompanying a steady stream of tears.

"Easy there, Rachel. We need to find shelter first, right Doc? Then we'll look for the others. Don't you worry. Here, hold on to this with your other hand," Bateson says handing her his bamboo fishing rod.

As you look around down the path to where Caruso and Renee left to, your entire field of vision goes bright white. Then, in perfect clarity, you see a cave:

Image

Deep in the pit of your stomach your instincts seem to push you forward-- this has to be the way to safety.


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"Ummm...yeah. Shelter. I think I see a cave over here. Lets go and use it for cover." He directs them to the cave. He stays back and makes a pile of rocks form an arrow to where they went for the other folks and then goes to the cave helping Rachel with Will.

he cries. So confused. feeling of despair rides up into his mind. He wants to escape...



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Skyman wrote:
"Ummm...yeah. Shelter. I think I see a cave over here. Lets go and use it for cover." He directs them to the cave. He stays back and makes a pile of rocks form an arrow to where they went for the other folks and then goes to the cave helping Rachel with Will.
Holding Rachel's arm, William Bateson sidles up to where you stood and looks out onto the horizon in the direction you indicated. "Cave? Where? I don't see a cave," he sneers, squinting at precisely nothing.

"My peepers aren't what they used to be," he relays with a carefree shrug. "Well, I guess you're the doc, Doc," Bateson relents as he glances at your coat breast pocket. "I mean... 'Dr. Mansfield,'" he reads deliberately with a wink and a quizzical smile. "Let's get going. Daylight's burning," he declares. Carefully listening to his last statement, you realize just how nonsensical the phrase 'burning daylight' is here, considering that the low light has curiously remained at the same twilit level ever since you awoke.

After you fashion your arrow landmark for the others to follow, your trio starts out into the wild. You feel the promising comfort of safe shelter beckon.

Skyman wrote:
he cries. So confused. feeling of despair rides up into his mind. He wants to escape...
"You alright, Doc?" inquires Bateson.

"Leave him alone. Maybe he's just now realizing how screwed we really are," suggests Rachel as she begins to tear up herself.

Just then you hear the far off familiar sound of an old public telephone ringing. "Anybody else hear that?" asks Rachel.

As you approach a particularly thick patch of underbrush, the phone's ringing grows louder, and then stops just as suddenly as it started. As you collectively make your way through the dense maze of dry shrubs and bushes, you hear someone's voice. Caruso?

Your field of vision goes bright and milky again. This time you see something you've seen before, but a great deal worse:

Image

"... better tell me what the fuck is going on here RIGHT NOW! What was that French shit back there a few minutes ago? Who are you?"

Yes, it's undeniably Caruso's voice.

The ground begins to shake again. Rachel and Bateson steady themselves against some nearby saplings but cannot resist the immense tectonic rumbling. In spite of your best efforts to brace yourself, you join them on the dirt.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:16 pm 
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jimmy corrigan wrote:
"Let go of me, Caruso! Calm down and let go of me right now," she manages between the impotent jerks of her arms. "You know who the hell I am! It's me Renee. Y'know, Renee: the name on the driver's license you found while rifling through my purse, the owner of the walkman in your pocket! Who was that on the phone? And what exactly do you mean by French shi--"

As if on cue: "La conversion... il est manifeste. Trop tôt. Décrochage."

Her countenance washes over with recognition and new understanding. Adjusting her tone and tack, "Look, I'll tell you all I know about this... place. But it's going to be hard to swallow at first. We're... we're changing. I've been here a long time, and so far as I and the others here can tell we're changing." She looks down at your lanky figure and explains, "It's why I can see that you have my walkman in your pocket, why I can see you have a metal rod in your once-fractured left leg. And judging by the French you say you heard back there, my guess is that those are my subconscious thoughts you're picking up. Bateson says emergence manifests itself differently for everyone. Look, I'd love to tell you more, but you're sort of... crushing my outfit."

As you contemplate whether or not to let go of Renee's abundant frame, the ground violently shakes as the both of you tumble at the threshold of the phone booth. You notice a folded scrap of paper wedged between one of the low glass panes and the door frame.

Genuine panic resonates in Renee's shrill voice, "Look we got to find shelter and quick. The others we left behind are depending on us!"


As my face lay in the dirt, about a foot away from the phone booth and that tantalizing scrap of paper, I considered the craziness of the shit that was going down. Two things to file away for future "research"... Number one, who the fuck was Bateson? And number two, what the fuck was this creepy emergence thing?

In the meantime, Renee did have a point. Shelter would be good right about now. I snatched the little piece of paper as I stood back up, then hurriedly, and none too gently, yanked Renee back to her feet. Oops. Gee I hope that didn't hurt.

Right about that point is when the others arrived on the scene. By which I mean, that squirrelly doctor guy, the girl Rachel with the busted up leg, and some old scrubby-looking homeless bum.

"C'mon!" I yelled to no one in particular, "We need to find someplace safe! Any ideas?"



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:51 am 
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mordraine wrote:
As my face lay in the dirt, about a foot away from the phone booth and that tantalizing scrap of paper, I considered the craziness of the shit that was going down. Two things to file away for future "research"... Number one, who the fuck was Bateson? And number two, what the fuck was this creepy emergence thing?

In the meantime, Renee did have a point. Shelter would be good right about now. I snatched the little piece of paper as I stood back up, then hurriedly, and none too gently, yanked Renee back to her feet. Oops. Gee I hope that didn't hurt.

Right about that point is when the others arrived on the scene. By which I mean, that squirrelly doctor guy, the girl Rachel with the busted up leg, and some old scrubby-looking homeless bum.

"C'mon!" I yelled to no one in particular, "We need to find someplace safe! Any ideas?"
"I'll be jiggered... you were right, Doc! I think I do see that cave you were talkin' 'bout. Over there," you hear the raggedy looking man say, squinting past some brush. He continues to help Rachel along. As he passes the both of you, he flashes a casual smile but gives a telling nod to Renee. "Will, but you can call me Bateson," he says to you with an extended hand.

A cacophony of voices, a choir of subconscious thought presumably from the group, inundates your mind. It is distracting, almost to the point of being unbearable at first. After a while you manage to block it out.

"We best make way to that cave over there," says Bateson. When you look over to where he indicates, there's a large cave some distance away cut into a lone rocky hillside. Everyone heads for the cave in earnest, lest the ground quake and the sky start to fall again.

"What the hell's that phone booth doing out in the middle of nowhere?" inquires Rachel. Renee remains silent. You feel the folded scrap of paper in your pocket. It's worn with age and less stiff than you first imagined, like newsprint... or perhaps the cheap pulp comic books or the Yellow Pages are made of.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:03 pm 
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jimmy corrigan wrote:
"I'll be jiggered... you were right, Doc! I think I do see that cave you were talkin' 'bout. Over there," you hear the raggedy looking man say, squinting past some brush. He continues to help Rachel along. As he passes the both of you, he flashes a casual smile but gives a telling nod to Renee. "Will, but you can call me Bateson," he says to you with an extended hand.


OK, so research item number one, DONE! I looked Bateson up and down as I shook hands with him. I wasn't about to make judgements, what with my life being the unmitigated disaster that it was. But it seemed pretty obvious that Bateson had seen better days. In any event, he knew something about what was going on, if Renee was to be believed. So now wasn't the time to piss him off with errant insults.

jimmy corrigan wrote:
A cacophony of voices, a choir of subconscious thought presumably from the group, inundates your mind. It is distracting, almost to the point of being unbearable at first. After a while you manage to block it out.

"We best make way to that cave over there," says Bateson. When you look over to where he indicates, there's a large cave some distance away cut into a lone rocky hillside. Everyone heads for the cave in earnest, lest the ground quake and the sky start to fall again.

"What the hell's that phone booth doing out in the middle of nowhere?" inquires Rachel. Renee remains silent. You feel the folded scrap of paper in your pocket. It's worn with age and less stiff than you first imagined, like newsprint... or perhaps the cheap pulp comic books or the Yellow Pages are made of.


Jesus, those fucking voices in my head. It took a fraction of a second longer than usual to realize that Rachel had actually said something out loud. I fingered the piece of worn paper in my pocket and looked at her. My first thought, in answer to her question was, "Oh, not much. Just your average gateway to ghostly nightmare voices from the past." But I stuck with a noncommittal shrug.

As we walked, I surreptitiously took the paper out of my pocket and glanced at it to see what it had on it.



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