This is like a bad hangover after a bad dream, Alex thought as he tried to will himself to his feet, only a whole lot friggin' worse. I can usually puke standin' up... There he was, though, down on one knee in front of the shop, looking for all the world like he was going to empty his stomach on the sidewalk and then pass out and drown in his own vomit while, just a few feet away, Smoke and Penelope hovered around Alice like they had just discovered some lost little kid in the park...
He had caught the gist of what was going on... snippets of conversation had snuck through the nauseating waves of Taint that emanated from the kid and crashed over him... but couldn't do a damn thing about any of it... Jesus, Alex! Look at yourself! Some kinda hero you are, huh? Betcha if that kid was a Zazy you'd be on your feet...
Shaking fingers lifted to where Em's pentacle hung from the leather thong around his neck and closed around the charm as Alex scowled in the face of that internal rebuke and forced himself up; Christ, I gotta quit drinkin'...
"I tell them to go away and they go away... well, they fall down, anyway..."
His head swam, his vision blurred a bit, and his knees felt like jell-o but Alex had made it to a somewhat stooped but nonetheless upright position, one hand clasped around Emily's necklace and the other clutching the wall of the building, and turned his eyes on the trio of beings just up the walk.
Smoke, looking a little flustered and, judging from the tone of the mew she had just let out, feeling a bit peeved was sauntering back in his direction, now, but Penelope was stretching a hand out towards Alice...
"Let's go for a walk," the Iberian Immortal suggested, "you can tell me all about your friend and maybe we can find her."
Are you nuts, lady?! Alex thought, still trying to firm up his wobbling knees as Alice smiled at Penelope and, after a hesitant moment, took the woman's hand. You shouldn't be takin' that... kid... anywhere... Alex... Smoke's aura sent a strange ripple through his own as the bast rubbed in circles around his ankles... Rose needs us. Penelope has the girl. We have to go inside now...
"Yeah," he breathed, his vision clearing as he watched Penelope lead the taint lantern away and even more so as he tore his eyes off of the Immortals and turned them almost apologetically to Smoke, "inside sounds good..." Alex rolled a shoulder against the wall and turned himself toward the door. "Let's do that." He staggered forward and through the door, then, and once back inside, lurched frantically through the shop and into the kitchen where he slouched over the sink and let his stomach, finally, have it's way.
Posted on 2010-02-16 at 17:08:30.
Edited on 2016-09-28 at 08:14:09 by Eol Fefalas
Smoke bounded after Alex, taking only a quick glance back at Penelope as she walked off with Alice.
Good luck… she offered before slipping back inside and rubbing her body against the door until it nudged itself closed behind her.
A moment later she sat on the edge of the kitchen sink, licking her paw daintily between glances at Alex retching.
Well… for your sake I’m actually rather glad that Penelope went with the child, instead of coming back in here to see you like this. You’ll have a much better shot at her if you haven’t spilled your stomach on her rather expensive shoes. I’ve at least seen this before… probably more times than you would care for me to relate to you. I’d get you a towel love but alas… she licks over her paw again, where a thumb would be if evolution had graced her with one to punctuate her point.
Still preening the kitty waits until he has finished cleaning up and to finally spin on her with the rather expected, “Who… what… on earth was that and what has she got to do with Rose?”
Tuna, tuna first… she purred as she lounged out on the counter. The bangs and complaints are ignored and finally when the tuna is put before her she licks her lips and starts to explain what she saw in Rose’s dreams when she went upstairs with the girl.
Posted on 2010-02-16 at 18:21:41.
Edited on 2016-09-30 at 09:49:11 by Eol Fefalas
After smilingly describing her friend the child immortal looked up to Penelope and took her hand, "By the way... my name's Alice," the girl said, all the while her smile never faded.
At the moment the tainted child's hand touched her skin the oily sick sensation intensified, threatening to overtake the Iberian siren. Her stomach twisted and in that moment Penelope near lost herself. Closing her eyes she took several deep breathes and began to channel, it was only a trickle of essence but it's life giving power coursed through her body keeping the taint wrought sickness at bay. Only then did Penelope look down at Alice.
"Alice," she said, "such a pretty name."
The siren smiled at the girl and out of the corner of her eye she saw Smoke's tail twitch as the bast swaggered off towards Alexander. The cat's cooperation put her mind at ease, allowing her to focus on the task at hand.
Turning her full attention to Alice she continued in a soothing voice, "You must call me Penelope, now let's see about finding your friend."
With that she began to lead the tainted child away from the house, Alexander, and his two friends. Smoke's telepathic well wishes echoed in her mind as she walked with Alice.
Roseanne slowly woke up. For an instant, she was confused, as she didn't immediately recognize her surroundings. However, as she rubbed sleep from her eyes, she slowly came to know where she was...
She looked around, half expecting to see Smoke, but wasn't surprised that the cat wasn't there. Although, it did feel like she was here... hmm... strange dream. She yawned, sitting up and reaching behind her, to braid her long dark hair as it was earlier, securing the end with her rose ring. She stood up, and leisurely stretched for a while. A series of motions which, being a gymnast, would've been interesting to be seen. She put her socks back on, smoothed out her shirt a bit, and carefully made her way back downstairs.
For a moment, she thought she saw her ward glowing, but as she did a double take, and Alice and Penelope moved out of range, her second glance revealed it to be inert, as normal. Roseanne blinked, before shrugging. She guessed she was more sleep deprived than she had thought... either that or was still half asleep. She pondered a moment, before pinching herself on the arm. Then again, she notes that there were dreams that she has had where she's pinched herself before in the dream, and later woken up. She shakes her head.
"Strange dreams..." Roseanne mutters, before casting about for Smoke or Mr. Sharpe.
Posted on 2010-02-17 at 00:45:08.
Edited on 2010-02-17 at 00:45:24 by Reralae
She followed after Penelope for a moment, skipping along the sidewalk. As they went, other people gave the pair of them a wide berth... some people even giving Penelope odd glances, as though they were wondering the wisdom of being with such a child. Alice, however, seemed to take no notice, her blue eyes more focused on scanning everywhere they walked by. She pauses a moment as she glances into an alleyway.
"I wonder if she's just playing hide and seek..." Alice mused aloud, before taking a closer look at the alley.
She looked up to Penelope, tilting her head, "I should look everywhere, shouldn't I?"
Penelope walked through the streets of old town with the strange child immortal. With some effort the siren ignored the stares of those they passed. She was used to stares of awe and desire, not the looks of confusion and fear that were in the eyes of all they passed. There was little doubt their passing would be remembered, and that worried her.
She watched Alice closely. The girl seemed intent on finding her friend, peering this way and that with an intensity no child possessed. Yet she felt pity for the girl. There was still the air of innocence about her and something in the ancient siren stirred. Long ago Penelope had borne a child, a daughter that she had never known. Pain from centuries past returned to her and she looked down at Alice. Was the girl some redemption for the daughter she had lost?
Alice looked up at her smiling and Penelope returned the smile with a maternal warmth. The pair continued down the streets before Alice stopped and glanced toward an alleyway.
"I wonder if she's just playing hide and seek..." the tainted child mused as she gazed more intently into the alley.
"I should look everywhere, shouldn't I?" Alice asked as she looked up to her.
Penelope smiled and nodded. That could prove a dangerous action, there was no telling what hid in the alley and what reaction Alice would have to it.
She saw little alternative to searching the alley and so Penelope answered, "If you think that is best, then yes. We just have to be very careful."
Posted on 2010-02-23 at 00:49:20.
Edited on 2010-02-23 at 00:50:20 by Nimu
Alice tilted her head up at Penelope, "Careful? What for? It's not like people can hurt me," She giggled, before pausing and rubbing her forehead, where she was shot the other day, "Well... it can hurt... but then I just have to tell them to stop it and go away. They always listen to me." She said cheerfully, closing her eyes and smiling brightly.
In the meantime, however, a man was perched quietly on a railing in the alley, puffing away on a foul cigar as he apparently read a week-old newspaper. He was chosen for the job because of his claim to be able to see around corners... he was mildly surprised that his employer found that interesting, rather than scoffed him off. Then again, she did have that strange and, in his opinion weird, pentacle pendant...
Though, what was perhaps stranger was the description of his mark as she gave him. An odd-winged girl, huh? Still, as he had pushed his sight outward enough to watch the street, that really was what he'd say to describe her. Inwardly he wondered why his target was just a girl. Then again, that wasn't his job to wonder, and the pay was considerable. He could actually pack up and leave if he actually wanted to, with the half-payment the secretary had given him. Ah well, easy target, easy money, what else was there to it than that?
The man however, leaned to the side, and felt a faint crack in his back. He should've went to the trouble to get a better chair earlier...
Where the past and the present collide, in the darkness, in me confide.
Far Off Past
Jen quickly dashed first out the doors as the bells tolled. Soon, the other elementary students also filed out, but Jen beat them all as she quickly ran down the town sidewalk. There was someplace she wanted to be. Taking a shortcut, Jen cut through an alley, behind a person's yard, before cutting into the woods. Although she was agile, she slowed down a bit; she knew it'd be bad if she tripped on a tree root.
Leaping from one extended root to the next, she made her way forward, before slowing down even more, now even tip-toeing. She slowly made her way towards a clearing, where she heard the metallic grating of a swing. She lowered her bag, and timed it carefully. Without warning, she lept out into the clearing, running forward and grabbing the figure on the swing, pulling them into a close hug even as she dragged the swing to a stop.
Alice nearly shrieked, but giggled, recognizing Jen. "Stop doing that!" She protested, even as she laughed.
"It's fun," Jen stuck her tongue out, "Besides, if you're on the swing, I know you aren't sewing, so you're fair game."
Alice shook her head, "You're silly."
The two of them played for a bit, with Jen pushing Alice on the swing, before Alice moved and went over to the park bench, with Jen not far behind after grabbing her bag. Alice pulled out a small patch of cloth.
"Still learning needlework?" Jen asked curiously, even as she stretched her legs.
"Yep." Alice replied, "I like it." She giggled softly, "Why don't you ever let me make anything for you?"
Jen laughed, "You know me. I'm all over the place. I'd be worried about ruining it."
Alice fell silent a moment, a hand at her chin in thought, "How long are you going to grow your hair?" She asked suddenly.
Jen blinked, looking up at Alice on the bench, "I dunno... might keep it short. Long hair just gets in the way."
Alice tilted her head, "I see... so if it wasn't in your way, would you grow your hair long too?"
Jen blinked again, "I guess so... what are you getting at?"
"It's nothing." Alice giggled, humming softly to herself as she continued sewing.
The next day, Alice gave Jen a small box.
"What's this?" Jen asked.
"I made it for you." Alice smiled, "Hope it turned out well."
Blinking, Jen opened the box. Inside was a long ribbon with cloth roses sewn together and on it. She held it up, looking at it closely, "Wow... you're really good... but what's it for?"
Alice laughed, "Silly, it's for you to tie your hair back with."
Once again, the click of her heels pounded a rhythmic staccato into the streets of Old Town. Already the day had spun far out from what Penelope Rosa had planned. She had intended on manipulating a wicce detective into helping her deal with a few cultists poking their noses where they didn't belong. Finding herself already entwined in a war between the Cult of Azazel and a man hell bent on revenge had not been a pleasant discovery. Discretion alone had kept her alive during this exile in the New World. She limited herself to little more than trickery and only when needed. The years of secrecy had transformed Penelope into a pale reflection of what she truly was. And yet, despite a subtlety honed by centuries, a cult of demon worshipping fools had routed her out. All this she could deal with, if she had learned one thing over the passage of ages it was to adapt.
On this day however, time had found a way to throw her, to force her to take a breath. Countless lifetimes of experience could not have prepared her for the demon child leaking tainted rivers of power as she skipped about. Penelope was not often held back by scruples, but killing a child, even one consumed by taint, had been harrowing. It bored a hollow within her, an emptiness that could not be filled. There would be no tears. No release. Only memory.
Memory and regret.
Alice had vibrated with the aberrant power of the Mad Gods, an abomination innocent of the decay in her wake. Claiming a child had been wicked genius. What mortal sentiment would allow for doing what must be done? There had been no hope for Alice. Taint had claimed her so completely that healing could only come with death. It had to be done, and yet, Penelope felt its pain deep within her immortal facade.
Oh she was no match for Alice directly. If the girl had lashed out, the taint would have certainly taken her, perhaps it could even kill her. Yet Penelope was not one to act directly. The Mad Gods, in their abominable brilliance, had left their tainted champion with the innocent mind of a child, a mind that could never resist the lure of Faerie. Piercing the taint had taken significant power, but in the end her compulsion had settled into the child. Penelope had not stayed to watch. She only hoped that the death Alice gave herself was quick, and that none had noticed the beacon of magic needed to push the child on such a course.
It had not truly been an act of evil, and yet Penelope felt dirtied for it. Over the course of eleven centuries she had committed unspeakable acts but never before had she killed a child. Today that all changed. Today she had changed.
The mortal woman she played had no power to stop the rushing tide of chaos brought by this day. The mortal woman had no choice but to follow the path it laid out for her. It had been the mortal woman whose hand had been forced. That sniveling coward had taken the power she denied herself each day and with it marked her soul for all time. In so doing, she had ended the charade. The time for such games was over; it was time for Penelope to face herself, reclaim herself. The time of the Xana had come again.
Just so, her staccato step brought her back to Alejandro's door. Once again she knocked. It was time to get the going gone.
Alice stared up at Penelope with wide eyes. Penelope had to be firm with her power, but Alice's innocence gave the girl a strange manner of resistance. It was not the same as using a compulsion on an adult human - an adult's mind could comprehend certain things better than a child's. Yet, even as Alice looked up sadly, Penelope knew she had succeeded.
Alice closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. She could do this. She could see her parents again. And then maybe they'd all find Jen together too.
As her vile power was turned on herself, she felt cold in her chest. Then she felt hot, a searing sensation at the back of her head.
Then it went dark.
* * *
The universe loves to prove me wrong, doesn't it, He had inwardly groaned as he saw the woman continue to escort the girl. It was too risky to take a shot like that.
And then, the scenario changed.
It was a gamble, he knew that. It was also the darn best scenario a marksman could hope for. The girl looked... well, rather strange in person, and oddly sickening to his eyes. But, if you looked past those things that indicated something other than human, she looked forlorn. The woman had said something to her, something that gave her pause, and the girl had closed her eyes. The woman then turned to leave - she wouldn't see his shot.
Yet, in the process, he hesitated. This was too damn convenient.
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
He grit his teeth and fired. The suppressor took care of the main source of noise, and he had enough time to ensure his aim was as good as it was going to get. It struck the girl in the back of the head.
She landed on the pavement with a very audible thud.
Yet, despite that, the woman never looked back. He had expected her to investigate, but... it looked as though he would be undetected. A perfect takedown.
Too damn convenient.
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
Gritting his teeth for the second time in as few minutes, he made his departure.
Waving a hand, he gave a sigh of relief, Thank you, the universe.
Now to collect his payment.
Posted on 2016-09-28 at 08:27:56.
Edited on 2016-09-28 at 08:31:41 by Reralae
O’hare International Airport (ORD) – Chicago, 6:25pm
“Air France flight 144 from Paris arriving at Gate M13,” sounded over the airport PA.
A dark haired beauty was one of the First Class passengers who disembarked first from the plane. She was of average height, with long dark hair which framed a lovely face. She wore a long red dress that clung to her body in all the right places to attract attention, and she carried herself with a confident, feline grace. Several men noticed her and couldn’t help themselves from gawking at her; some receiving chastisement from the women that were with them. The woman only strode down the concourse, her sharp blue eyes seeming to ignore those around her, as she headed towards the customs area. Once there, she was miraculously ushered through without hardly any delay as other people griped and complained because they had to wait at the Customs agent’s leisure. She had no luggage except a small case and a small handbag, so she didn’t go through the baggage claim area, but instead headed right outside to the Arrivals pick-up area. Throngs of arriving passengers stood in groups awaiting the terminal buses, or tried to get one of the few taxis available, but she strode up to a waiting stretch limo with a liveried driver who opened the rear door for her. Stepping in without a word, the driver closed the door and hurried around to slip into the driver’s seat. He pulled away with little care for the other cars, causing some to honk their annoyance.
“The Apartment, Ma’am?” the driver asked his passenger.
“Yes” a silky smooth voice floated up from the back of the limo, “Plane rides always leave me feeling unclean.” She liked to fly, thinking it one of the greatest modern inventions to get her from one far away place to another. What would have taken months to traverse, now only took a little over 9hrs Non-Stop, but she hated the fact that she had to endure the closeness of other mortals.
“Very well, Ma’am,” the driver acknowledged.
55 East Erie St #SH-2, Near North Side, Chicago, IL – 7:35pm
Cyrene stepped out of the private elevator and into her luxuriously furnished, 4 story town-home located on the 12th floor of the full-amenity luxury building. This place was overly large for just her, having a Master Bedroom with Full Master Bath, 2 other bedrooms, and 5 other bathrooms (3 full, 2 half). Most of the apartment had hardwood floors, except for the Master Bedroom which was carpeted. The place sported 2 Gas log Fireplaces (Living Room, Master Bedroom), a full custom kitchen with all the latest high-end (SubZero, Wolf & Miele) appliances. A wood paneled den with coffered ceiling, built-in bar and wine frig. The apartment was surrounded by a 1000+ sq.ft. Terrace with IPE Wood decking, outdoor kitchen with a Viking Grill/smoker. A 2 car garage downstairs was alloted her as well.
Cyrene didn't need all this space, she only stayed here when in Chicago area, but she had places in major cities all over the world. She detested staying in hotels as you never knew who had stayed in the place before you. Here she knew that no one stayed here unless she was in town. Her staff, which would arrive in the morning to attend her needs while here, would be the only others that had access to her apartment.
She headed straight away to shower and get the plane stink off of her. Afterwords, she dried her hair, slipped into a Malachite colored Fendi Crepe De Chine Dress, and replaced her jewelry; the five diamond string earrings, and upon each hand she had 3 different rings one each on her thumbs, middle, and smallest fingers. She then moved to a walk in closet; within she pressed a hidden stud and one wall slide away to reveal a wall sporting all manner of weapons. Swords and knifes from many different periods were intermingled with modern firearms, handguns mostly, from large to small. She chose a few smaller items and concealed them about her person and into her purse, before closing the door. She went down to the 1st floor Living room and pressed the call button on the intercom; she was answered immediately by the doorman downstairs.
“Have my car readied immediately,” Cyrene said and closed the intercom after receiving the acknowledgment. She grabbed her purse and after checking her appearance one final time in a hallway mirror; she left her apartment. She had an appointment and she wanted to get it out of the way as soon as possible. The man she was meeting was not going to be happy with her visit, but that did not concern her. She was here on instructions from the Master, and even he would not get in the way of her duties, no matter how much he might feel threatened by her presence here in 'his' town.
(OOC: Part two tomorrow. )
Posted on 2016-09-28 at 19:32:45.
Edited on 2016-09-28 at 19:34:00 by Boo Boo
The little grey fluffball had coerced him into opening a can of tuna for her in exchange for an explanation as to what in all the hells had just happened outside and, as Smoke ate, she started relating to him all of what she’d seen in Rosie’s dream. Rosie and this Alice-thing had actually been friends a long time ago, perhaps the best of friends, even. Just normal girls that did the things those normal girls do with their normal friends… Then, there was the clock that somehow wasn’t a clock and, somehow, these normal girls had recognized that fact and took it upon themselves to destroy the thing… Alex felt his stomach lurch, again, when Smoke detailed what had happened, then… the clock becoming some kind of monster, killing Alice… then dead Alice killed the clock-monster and died again in the effort… If he’d been a mundane, he imagined, just the thoughts of it all would have fried his psyche, if a mundane could even bring themselves to believe any part of it was true.
Lord and Lady, Alex sighed, shoving a hand through the mop of his hair as he tried to get his mind around all of what the bast was telling him, It’s no wonder Rosie’s so f^(#ed up about time and clocks… that poem’s making a lot more sense all the sudden… His fingers untangled from his hair and moved to fish a cigarette from his jacket pocket, reminding him, when they didn’t find the familiar feel of the battered leather, that he’d left his jacket in the front room… Is that why she’s so oblivious to her own potential, too, he wondered, pushing away from where he leaned against the counter and heading for the front room and that cigarette he felt the need for, She witnessed Alice’s power and it scared the livin’ s#!t outta her, mebbe? Some kinda PTSD?
Retrieving his jacket from where he’d left it, Alex shrugged back into the thing even as his fingers sought out the pack of smokes in its inside pocket. The weight of the jacket soothed his frayed nerves, as did the act of nestling that cigarette into the corner of his mouth, and the feel of the pentacle-engraved Zippo in his hand as he lifted it to light the tobacco. ~Ching!~ He flipped the lighter open and ~scritch~ struck the flint wheel. The flame jumped to life and, as he brought it closer to the cigarette, Alex found himself staring all too deeply into that tiny speck of heat and light. What if Rosie and Alice are two sides of the same coin, he heard a voice that he wasn’t sure was his own whisper as he stood there, transfixed by the flame dancing before his eyes, A beacon of Essence on one side, a beacon of Taint on the other… And what if that’s why Alice is here? Looking for her other half. Deep in the tiny flame, Alex thought he saw the silhouette of a body, just then, and he wanted to blink but couldn’t.
What if those halves get put back together, the voice whispered as the shadow-form writhed miserably within the lighter’s flame, in the presence of and able to draw on all of this… Did the shadow-body just scream? …all of us?
He felt his own Essence swell and gather, unbidden, in his fingertips. Entranced as he was by the Zippo’s flame, though, he couldn’t stop it… couldn’t even get himself to blink himself free of the fire and the tortured soul roasting inside of it… until the flame exploded into a ball of fire large enough to finally light the cigarette, singe the hairs on his face, and snap him violently from his woolgathering. “S#!t,” he exclaimed, flinching as he snapped the lighter shut and, instinctively, patted at his face to insure he wasn’t on fire.
He didn’t feel like puking, anymore, but his heart was threatening to pound out of his chest. “S#!t,” he repeated, softer than before, as he took a shuddering drag from the cigarette and allowed his eyes to travel to the staircase. Penelope was outside with Alice, hopefully not getting herself killed… or would it be destroyed, in her case?.. Rosie was upstairs, sleeping a, now, dreamless sleep given what Smoke had told him…
“And you’re standin’ here doin’ nothin’ but wonderin’ what it’s supposed to mean,” he grumbled at himself, “Actin’ like some piss-pants little twelve-year-old who’s never seen a ghost.” Another angry puff on the cigarette found him standing at his desk, tugging open a drawer, and retrieving his pistol from inside. “That what you’re gonna do when the Reckoning comes,” he chastised himself under his breath as he checked the weapon’s load, then snugged the thing into the waistband of his jeans, “just stand there blinkin’ at it?
What would Em say about that?”
He exhaled a cloud of smoke, then, and tried to draw in a deep, calming breath, attempting to center himself and focus his Essence. She’d say she loves you, his mind told him,and that she believes in you… Your destiny is…
“Yeah, yeah,” he cut off the inner voice, rubbing his freshly reddened fingertips on the leg of his jeans as he strode for the front door, “she might’ve been wrong about that destiny she liked to talk about… Some warrior of the light I’m turning out to be…
Smoke,” he called, reaching the door and starting to unlatch the bolts, “Keep an eye on Rosie! I gotta go make sure that Penelope’s…”
It was then that Alex noticed that Rosie’s makeshift ward taped up by the doorway was no longer glowing; “What the hell?” He checked the one that covered his watch and saw that it, too, had ceased to shine. Does that mean Alice is gone, he wondered. How long ago did they stop glowing? Where’s Penelope? S#!t!!!
He was pulling the 9mm from his waistband and, at the same time, throwing the last of the bolts on the door open, when, suddenly, he felt a brief flicker of sadness, followed by a peculiar sense of disquieted relief… and then came the soft knocking on the door. Alex tore the door open with a little more force than he’d meant to, but the sound of that knock and the feelings that had immediately preceded it… well…
“You’re okay,” he almost whispered on the relieved sigh that escaped his lips when he opened the door to see Penelope standing there. He found he couldn’t keep himself from looking her over, head to toe, to assure himself that she’d escaped the horribly tainted Alice truly unscathed. Nor, when that appeared to actually be the case, could he keep himself from smiling a bit and reaching out a hand to touch her cheek… When his newly seared fingertips came into view, though, he realized what he was doing and his smile went from relieved to sheepish as he quickly withdrew that hand and scratched at his stubbled jaw instead.
“I was just… uh…” he realized that his gun was still in his other hand as he stepped to one side, gesturing for her to come in, “I was just coming to look for you.” He returned the pistol to the waistband of his pants and shrugged. “I was…”
Shut up, Alex!
“I’m glad you’re alright,” he finished, closing the door, again…
((OOC: Not my best, but it's getting me back into Alex's head a bit... run with it as you will. ))
Downtown Chicago, One Museum Park, Katul's Apartment, 8:48pm
The elevator doors slide open and Cyrene glided from into the hallway leading up to Katul's door, along with a sentry from downstairs who had accompanied her up here. She saw ahead the human sentry on the right, and the statue of a black stone cat with horns to the left. She smirked at the statue. He still has that damn thing, how vain! She thought as she walked up to the door, but her way was barred by the tall black man with a shaved head. He wore mirrored sunglasses inside, she never understood the appeal of that fashion statement, and the typical black suit but with a blood red shirt. She liked his shirt at least; she spotted the golden medallion of the Cult bared for all to see. The sentry stepped forward to block her further access as she stopped and looked up at him with a raised eyebrow.
“She's here to see Mr. Katul,” the other Sentry from downstairs said for her. He didn't know why he had let her up here. Normally, no one was allowed up unless Mr. Katul was expecting them, but the Lady had a way about her that said it was alright as long as he followed and explained. The tall black man's head swiveled to the other man, then back to the woman. He stood silently for a long moment before speaking.
“No one is expected,” he said in a deep baritone voice. That was all that he said and just stood still barring their way.
The other sentry started to speak, but a gesture of the woman's left hand made him remain silent. The woman walked up to stand close to him and gazed up into his eyes; a small smile came to her lips.
“Mr. Katul will see me,” she said, “so announce me.” Her tone was commanding as if she wasn't use to someone getting in her way or disobeying her. The man shook his head slightly as he reached out a meaty hook of a right hand to grasp her by the upper left arm. It appeared as if he intended to show her back to the elevator from whence she came. The woman's smile broadened slightly as she turned her head to look at the other sentry.
“Despite appearances,” she said to him, “it appears you are the smart one.”
“So you must be the big one,” she said turning back to the man gripping her arm, “Big, but dumb.” She continued as she reached over and patted his right hand that gripped her arm, with open right hand. When she did, a small twitch of her fingers caused a small, but sharp pin to flick out of her ring. As she withdrew her hand the pin scratched the back man's hand drawing blood. He stepped back and grasped his hand in shock; anger came to his face as he started to reach for her but then froze.
The scratch quickly turned bright red as pain started to fill the man's eyes; he tried to speak but no words came forth. He raised his injured hand and saw the wound was festering quickly; he staggered back as his skin began to blister and boils formed on his hand and within seconds were appearing up his neck and to his face. He continued to try and form words, but all that came out was a long undulating scream as he flesh seemed to start to melt off of him as he collapsed to the floor.
The other sentry staggered back himself watching the other man die, in what must have been a very painful death. The body had no sooner his the floor and the screams stopped as a putrid odor rose from the decaying corpse. The glint in the woman's eyes as the man's screams stopped was one of pure joy. Another gesture sent to pin back into the ring, just as the door behind the sentry opened and the man she had come to see stood there.
“What is going on out here?,” Katul began, “didn't I say no interruptions to...” His voice trailed off as he saw who was standing out in the hallway with a beatific smile upon her perfect lips.
“Cyrene?” he started and then smelt the death and looked down, “and why did you do that to my man? The humans are cheap, but so hard to train...”
The death of his man didn't seem to bother him all that much; what worried him more was why she was here. They both served the same Master, and even worked together on several occasions, even taking order from him at times; but usually she worked alone with orders directly from the Master himself. He didn't hate her, they had a common goal, it was just that he didn't like other Servants of Azazel around unless he was in charge of them.
“I have come on business," she said, emphasizing the last word, “and your man dared to grab me.”
Katul sighed and nodded; he knew that was something that would not be tolerated by Cyrene, at least not without her permission. She had a temper, and loved to inflict pain especially upon mortal's and to vex her in any manner was often the last thing someone would do.
“Very well, it's St. Patty's Day...” Katul said stepping lightly backward into his doorway. As she stepped into the room past him, he turned his face to the man left standing in the hallway. “Take out the trash. I want this gone when I open this door again.” His gaze told the man of his seriousness; the sentry only nodded vigorously and then turned and ran towards the elevator to get assistance. Katul smirked at him and closed the door before he turned to face the woman visiting him.
Cyrene looked about his elaborate apartment; the large window overlooking the Downtown area with the Lake beyond, the leather furniture, large black desk and chairs, but little else in décor. The only item was that 'stupid' old painting showing the horned demon overlooking a herd of goats. He had that thing forever and found enjoyment in displaying it proudly. She found such displays to be vulgar; she didn't need to have paintings or statues to show whom she served or what she believed in; her devotion was clear to anyone who really knew her.
“Why don't you just pull up a stool and have a drink with us? I have a lovely bottle of organic milk...” Katul asked as he moved over to his desk and curled himself down into the high-backed chair. He did it to show her who was the Boss here, in this place. He knew her all too well; she was like him and loved to be in charge of a situation. It gnawed at both of them to have to another powerful Servant around over which you didn't have any real control.
“I'm fine, thank you,” she said plainly as she turned to the window view to see him sitting at this big desk. She smirked knowing exactly what he was trying to tell her. “Let's get down to business shall we?
“Lets,” Katul replied.
“You have a problem here,” she began as she slowly walked about his room, her eyes watching him, “it has not gone unnoticed that someone is killing your Cult Members; roasting some of them alive.” The last brought a smile; it was something she would enjoy herself.
“I am aware of it, and we're working on it.”
“You mean you have your underlings working on it,” Cyrene snorted, “We both know how you are Katul. You don't like to get your claws dirty with mundane issues. You prefer to use you members to handle things and seldom get directly involved unless you deem it personal.” She turned to look full at him, but he didn't deny any of her words.
“Exactly,” she said going on, “I have been dispatched to handle the problem. I don't believe I need to say by whom” It was a statement and not a question.
Katul's ire showed upon his face and he shook his head. Why couldn't he be left to handle his own problems? This was his city, or it would be soon, and he couldn't understand why Cyrene, of all people, had to be the one sent to take over the situation.
“What do you want Cyrene?” Katul asked as he controlled his anger and let it one more sink deep inside him. He knew nothing he could say or do would change it; the Master had sent her so he could not do otherwise than to let her do her thing and he would have to help her in any way possible. Subterfuge here was useless; the Master would know if he attempted to sabotage her efforts in this matter.
“Why,” Cyrene began lifting her hands in a gesture of helplessness, “just to do our Master's biding of course. I mean it has been going on a year now, and the deaths can't be ignored. Someone has to step in and take a firm hand in the matter. Someone other than your pathetic mortals. Someone with real power.” He knew without asking she meant herself, of course.
“It looks like we got us a cowboy..." with a sigh he examined his nails with seeming disinterest. "I will, of course, give you freedom in his matter,” Katul said after finally calming himself, “I have some leads from my Cult members out there, but nothing definitive. I will make sure that all available information and clues will be given to you.”
“Thank you Katul,” she said with a smile. She knew how far she could go with him, and she had estimated that she had reached her limit and now was the time to show a little patience. “Tomorrow will be fine. If one of your underlings could maybe put everything you have onto a flash drive for me, I will examine it later.”
"A what? oh... something from the fancy boxes. Vernon knows those..." Katul nodded to her as his hands lay upon the surface of the desk, his nails slowly digging scratches into the Ebony surface of the wood. He was calm, but scratching something was always a source of relaxation for him.
“Is there anything else I can do for you Cyrene?” He finally asked her in a calm relaxed voice.
“Well,” she said with a pleasant smile, “I was going to have a late supper before retiring to my place. Perhaps you would like to join me?” She waited a few seconds before adding, “I was thinking of having sushi.” Her grin broadened a bit. She knew he was upset at the situation, but there was nothing she could do about his bruised ego. She had endured the same feelings herself in dealings with him in the past, so why not try to soothe his a bit. After all, she needed his cooperation, especially since she would use his contacts and members to squeeze out every little bit of information she could get.
“No,” Katul chuckled as the nostrils of his flattened nose flared, “I've already dined tonight.”
“Very well Katul,” Cyrene said as she turned to go, “could you please have one of your men bring over the flash drive in the morning? Please make sure to add in any contact information for your underlings; I may want to question them personally.”
“Yes, of course,” Katul said as he got up and followed her to the door, she opened it as she reached it and miraculously they found the body gone along with any sign that anything had even happened; even the putrid smell of melting flesh was gone. The sentry from downstairs was now standing guard in the same spot as the previous guard; looking for a promotion upstairs perhaps? Maybe he was the smart one. Cyrene whirled at the elevator after pressing the call button.
“I don't mean to step on your paws Katul,” she said with a smile, “I'm only doing the same as you; obeying the Master's wishes.”
“Of course Cyrene,” Katul said pleasantly, “I wouldn't have it any other way. I'll catch you on the flip side...” As she stepped into the elevator and pressed the lobby button, he gave her a nod of his head which she returned before the doors closed between them.
Posted on 2016-09-30 at 06:14:07.
Edited on 2016-09-30 at 06:15:52 by Boo Boo
Twilight rose up as the day began to die, cooling the lake air. A light mist blanketed Hollywood Beach, now empty and barely remembering the queer bodies that had frolicked in the sun only a few hours ago. With the coming of the night a new people would populate the lake park. It was fitting that the cast out and desperate filled the emptiness, a nocturnal reflection of the not too distant queer past. Poetic even, but the best poetry is always sorrowful.
Mami Fortuna mused in the emptiness as she wandered along the twilight shoreline. A liminal space for a liminal time. The haggard crone held her tattered shoes and walked barefoot, letting the water and sand lick her toes. Drinking it all in, Mami Fortuna smiled.
It had taken her the better part of the day to hobble from Pilsen to the Northside, but this quiet was worth every wincing step even if it lasted only a heartbeat. She was growing tired. The world would change, that was a constant, but she was weary of it. She had liked the Mexican families that had made Pilsen their home. Even the young hipsters, artists, and poets that displaced them brought her some joy. But that was done. Droves of wealthy white men were moving in and she could tolerate them no more than they could her. She would find a new place, but for now Mami Fortuna sipped in the quiet of the lakefront.
Finding a friendly rock, the old woman sat beside it and began to ask it of the day. The other nigh-time lakesiders kept their distance from the batty old woman having a chat with a rock. They of course couldn't hear the rock answer back, but it did.
Mami Fortuna rather liked rocks. They were sturdy and let the years pass around them with little care. What was the frenzy of the city to one who remembered being a mountain?
Just as she was about to recount the delicious egg sandwich she had snatched, Mami Fortuna felt an itch at the temples, pulling her dark eyes to the eastern sky. Darkness flew among the clouds, swirling around the city. Something new had come, and it hungered.
"¡Hijo de puta!" the old woman cursed as she jumped to her feet, moving with an alacrity surprising for one her age. "La puta del diablo viene en lo f***ing avión. Y tengo que mover. ¡Hijo de puta!"
Mami Fortuna continued to mutter as she hobbled down the lakefront path toward the residential streets. She had a long walk ahead and there was much to do.
This morning was not going as planned. At three am it was worrisome. Joe showing up and asking the questions he did had her pretty concerned about Alex. She didn’t have a real problem with what he was doing, but she knew that the American Justice System did not share her opinion, and BBQing a few cult members could land him in jail or worse. When he left without putting cuffs on Alex, though, she felt a little better.
Meeting up with Rosie at the store seemed to indicate that the morning was taking a turn for the better. She liked the girl, despite her nuances. And she was a good influence on Alex, having her come over to the house was also great. Maybe Alex would start to see himself and his place through her eyes, which couldn’t be a bad thing.
Then the rather attractive woman appeared with a potential case and the day was becoming downright amusing at this point. Watching Alex trip over himself made her tail twitch with delight.
But then things had begun to sour. The woman was going to bring Alex back to the Zazy’s, and then all of the information about Rosie’s past. The amusement was gone. When Alice appeared unexpectedly it felt like she had dropped off a cliff, and now, perhaps she had been caught from hitting the ground, by a tornado.
Penelope was at the door with Alex, likely about to go over whatever had happened with the strange wrong girl, and Rosie was movie upstairs.
Alex spending most of the day drinking and smoking and obsessing over the damned cult members was depressing, but easy for her. She got to sit around drinking milk and eating tuna. This… this was a lot of stress. Kitty was going to need a serious nap later.
With an exasperated little ‘Mew’ she started up the stairs to head Rosie off before she overheard something she didn’t need to upstairs. Surely she could come up with something adorable to do to distract her.