Ballad of Nightmare Dor

Something big is moving through Cincinnati.

Rumors have prickled ear hairs for months, now, that someone came across some artifact or source of power so crazy and haunted that it gets quickly traded off. A dangerous kind of power.

The kind the wise profit from wakes of devastation following. The kind of power fools lust for. No one can agree on anything about it and the stories of those in it's path proliferate with such gossip and disinformation that the only thing known about it is a name and a number.

295.

The Nightmare Door.

For whoever possesses the Nightmare Door will bleed the veil between the waking world and memories of trauma. Between sanity and an indulgent terror.

Categories

Saga:

Setting:

Stage:

Players:

Post Frequency:

Currently Accepting New Players:

Replies

DarkMoonINC's picture

Prologue

Times are in turmoil, and the world hungers in competition. Knowledge, money, power. Vice and addiction. And full of lies, too. A world of manipulation waits in the seedy dark alleys and broad daylight alike.

Conner Penroe was led astray. Away from family, from friends, deeper into a web of confusion. It was first the green-gold-red, who promised sacred Loas and magic fantastic until they started talking molotovs and AR15s and Conner bailed. Then a conspiracy forum led him up north where shady activities happened in the dead of night. And that's when he met the Goat Whores. At first he thought their name was a stigma name, it was too late when he knew their secret. Grindhouse occult, heavy metal, horror film fanatics who danced in the forest naked and signed pacts with demons and devils. An inclusive collectivism Manson Family who'd seen Suspiria, Rosemary's Baby, and The Wicker Man ONE too many times. Conner survived wild parties, met people who were not people, and finally found a version of the truth he'd been looking for.

That's how Conner got stuck in the Shadowside.

Three Goat Whore high witches Billie, Rosie, and Varla guided him through the ritual, a bath of his own bodily fluids, and when he slipped under the waves they revealed surprise. It was their test. If he was Goat Whore material, he'd escape the Shadowside and kill one of them (Billie, they hope). Then he'd be "Family". For what feels like two days he's been wandering abandoned dreams, strange places, and meeting peculiar things that don't always have faces but love talking. He's wandering, looking for an exit.

--*

For Eliza Penroe, however, it's been three months since her brother went to visit Minneapolis and disappeared. She went there. She stayed in a hotel with her mom and when her mom got tired she stayed another week with a friend. She never stopped searching. Not even when she moved back to ride out the rest of the next few months before college.

She was so ahead of her work that she's technically graduated and riding out one extra year just to graduate with friends, volunteer with school staff, and arrange everything for a College already paid for. And her parents, they'd just lost one kid and they couldn't bear to let her graduate early now. Eliza has a lot of time on her hands before MIT, while good life choices have left her with sizable resources. Every part of her hopes she'll figure out where Conner is by next summer.

Eliza's no fool. She's convinced someone has him, or at least his remains. The search feels like a second job now but every moment she rests or distracts herself she sees patterns. Small signs from the divine that reveal more clues to where he went. Charges on a card, packages and letters mailed to the house, a social media account that continued posting in a style completely unlike him. An account which posts mostly about new age witchcraft and when asked anything tells her, only, "I'm fine. Everything is fine." and eventually answered all questions with the same thing said by a melting dog in a house on fire.

That's when a conversation with some strangers online led her back to Minnesota. Rumor is the last place he was seen was some hippie commune in Suburbia. Something no one would tell the authorities. Her only lead to finding her brother, an address and the name Goat Whore. A name which brings up nothing relevant online.

--*

Which coincidentally is also a lyric from a song that Belinda Anne DeRege writes in her journal. "Beware the blades of goat whores, for their dance is rife with lies." She's scribbled it out and questioned the nonsense of the line. See, Linda's an artist on that journey of her soul. A path that has crawled her Camper Van from one city's campsite to the next. With guitar and easel and hippie gear she'd be mistaken for some wandering free soul.

Her past, however, is a shadowed lane full of rough hands and warm blood. Her family wants her to take on a cruel trade, reared in aristocracy, fine dresses, extravagant dinners, and socials where people get executed. Harvard educated with a suit and tie she was surrounded by men with surnames like "the Knife" and "Knuckles". It was all so too much.

Then the visions came. Whatever muse showed her sights and sounds awoke a passion in her heart. Shucking the legacy draped across her shoulders, she now chased visions. Casual dreams moved her to art. Then things changed. As she closed in on Iowa she noticed a single figure was calling her. The Black Madonna. First just the Madonna, a heavenly woman, slowly given to tears, dark black blood pouring from eyes. A woman in all dark, haunted but wise, quiet but speaking without words.

The prophetic visions showed her pieces of puzzles her genius correlated. Patterns. Something big was coming. Some event which would shift the world, destiny, and her own soul. All going down in Minnesota very soon. Which is where she now wrote lyrics and painted sunsets and counted stars and waited for the next vision to show her what her life's purpose was.

An auction was being held in one day, here in Minneapolis. She saw it, she knew of it, an auction she should never have known of but a few familiar voices from her old life would confirm. Why the visions led her hear, what would trade hands, she did not know.

All she knew for sure was it would change her life forever.

Give Kudos: 
0
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Forge's picture

Cards!
Rolled 8d12. Result: 3, 2, 6, 4, 4, 6, 5, 3 = 33.

Conner Penroe

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

He noticed his hand trembling a little, as he took off his aviator glasses, slowly.

{Am I dead?}

But that was the point, wasn't it? To explore the realm beyond, the world just out of reach for the living. Or was it? Those girls weren't lying after all.

{This could be just a vision. I could be hallucinating -how would I know? Maybe they're laughing at me right now and drawing dicks on my face with a magic marker...}

But he couldn't bring himself to laugh. How could he, standing there in a forest where every tree was living -writhing, stretching their wooden limbs as if unable to scratch some unbearable itch, and calling at him, in a million languages he couldn't understand, their voices ancient and hollow. The trees bled. He caught a few drips on the palm of his hand.

Gone were the three women -their nicknames suddenly not as 'edgy' but much more menacing and real.

{You really did it this time, Conner. You wanted it, you got it. Stepped in it deep. Now see if you luck out of this one too. Gotta.}

Tentatively, Conner slowly stepped out of the small pond -its water black and tranquil- where he had suddenly found himself standing after fearing he was about to drown. He took a step on the dark crimson grass, looked up at the sky, tangled in a slow motion weave of liquid flame, and said to the world:

"Hello Summerland. My name is Conner. I've been looking for you my whole life."

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet

-=[Live Forever]=-

silverdrake3's picture

"Oh my lord, finally!" The skyline of Minneapolis was finally coming into view. Skip, not understanding the significance of his master's excitement, jumped out of the passenger seat and ran for the back of the van, peering through every window before turning right back around and returning to her side, barking the whole time.

Linda grinned, patting his shoulder with a free hand. "That's right, we're almost there! About time, too, I'm getting saddle sore." She scanned the exits ahead for signs of where she could park. One disadvantage to stopping in cities, you had to pick your landing spot carefully. She wanted to get close to where that auction would be, preferably with bus stops or even just a grocery store nearby.

What had drawn her to this place, she couldn't tell you for sure. If you asked, she would say simply, "I heard there was this auction. Sounded cool." She rationalized that, with literally more income at her disposal than she knew what to do with, there had to be something there she wanted. Besides, she always trusts her gut.

In the rear view she could see one of her recent paintings hung on the back wall over the table. A woman's face in water color, tranquil, but blood poured from her eyes. Something bothered her about it, not for the gory imagery but from the sense that she was missing something.

A car honked off to her left, snapping Linda out of her momentary lapse. There was the exit. Time to set up camp.

Give Kudos: 
0
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Trapturtle's picture

Cards
Rolled 8d12. Result: 10, 11, 8, 12, 6, 6, 5, 9 = 67.

Eliza Penroe

Combat: 
HYB, HY
Magic: 
, NYA
Influence: 
EY
Else: 
EYB EY

Eliza took out her headphones as she approached the house. It looked... normal. Not at all the run down horror shack she'd be expecting. {What has Conner gotten himself into?} Approaching the front door and rang the doorbell. The noise startled her as she tried to calm herself. {It's just energy. Electrical impulses filtering through a device being converted into vibrations in the air. I hear the US military is looking to weaponize something like this.} She mused to herself, trying to calm her nerves by thinking of something else. "Dammit" {A weapon, if they're holding Conner hostage here I should have brought a weapon!}

[She starts rooting through the random junk she keeps in her purse to see if there's anything she could defend herself with. Coming up empty she clutches for the small can of mace attached to her keychain. Her palms are sweating as she grasps the tiny cylinder.]

She can hear footsteps approaching. {Don't startle them, don't do anything stupid. Stupidity is a pointless concept. Everyone learns things, some notice patterns and understand concepts more slowly than others but having those misconceptions corrected is the best way to obtain information. Cunningham's Law, the best way to get an answer on the internet...}

The door opened suddenly, bringing Eliza out of her head.

"Hey, I mean hello. My name is Eliza, or Liz or, never mind that's not important. Have you, uh, seen this person?"

[She holds up her phone to show a picture of Conner, it's the one they take for school IDs. In the picture Conner's smiling with all the sincerity of a hostage with a gun to his head.]

Give Kudos: 
0
Average: 5 (1 vote)
DarkMoonINC's picture

For a magical realm, Conner discovered, Summerland wasn't that exciting. At least not the place he'd emerged. The pond existed for a period of time when he noticed it and then a moment later grass went on and on and on for hours. The trees, sparse, seemed benign despite their writing displeasure. The bleeding trees gave way to a restlessness.

There was no way back, as he searched. No animals. No birds. A desolate depopulation, so different from the bustling city streets he'd paved the path here on Here, in these fields, Conner found himself for once left some sort of deprivation.

He was left with his own thoughts. It was late into the night when his doubts and fears had gotten to him. The landscape darkened the more self concerned he got, the trees grew more foreboding. He's been going for what feels like days with no exit and nothing exciting.

Here, however, Conner had discovered he discovered a building. A quick-mart design, double doors rattling in the wind, glass shattered under rusted shutters. Inside, rows of abandoned dusted boxes. A store of some form.

In the back of the store he hears a voice distantly muttering to itself: "...father has not engaged in conversation for at least twenty years. The monologue is his preferred mode of discourse."

ELSEWHERE

Linda is quickly able to find a nice campground. A Minneapolis KOA quick, easy, cheap. Everything she needs is provided. The woman's face watches her from the car, she is getting weird vibes from what the paintbrush puts out. As if haunted, bad energy is coming through her, and that painting will probably give everyone the heebie jeebies.

But it's such good work.

Out in the city she can feel something. The city has been touched in some way, as if the devil himself has smudged his thumb into the core. It's no particular detail, if anything the city is conspicuous for the lack of eventful activities occurring. It's too tidy and civilized for the bad she feels here.

And yet something tells her it's just misunderstood. The voice keeps telling her that whatever pulled her here is a voice like a distraught woman calling a plumber from backflow up to her ankles. Whatever Linda can do here with her talent and gifts will, the voice seems to say, help fix the crap. Where to start, however, she's not sure.

The auction takes place tomorrow mid day somewhere downtown in a nice little building dedicated to auctions and connected to a large storage yard.

MEANWHILE

The door opens two haunted eyed seventeen year olds, wearing barely enough, picking at their bra straps uncomfortably with heavy bags under their eyes. Their pupils dilate improperly. Eliza can see behind them into a living room with a bong and a dildo on the table, neither in recent use, and a pile of old horror movie VHS tapes. It's spackled with snacks and pills, beer cans and cigarette butts.

They look the picture over, and shrug. "I don't know. Maybe we've seen him."

Eliza flinches inside when one of them loudly pops and chews her gum. In the back she smells something else, beyond the living room, some combination of beer, sex, and something horrid.

On the way up here Eliza noticed a large complex directly behind the building. From the street with a little suburban house protected by shodden wood fences alongside, she did not realize something was off. Here, she connects back to what she saw. The housing structures behind this house are not separated by a street. The large three acres behind this house had an entire three blocks of homes, none of them accessible from the street.

The teenage girls connect gazes, as if communicating to each other with a look, and they look to Eliza. The one on the left asks with a grin "How much is he worth to you?"

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet
Forge's picture

Conner Penroe

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

He waited his whole life for this, and it would take years for any disappointment to build up in him -it's much better than school. The 'dirty wiccan', as he called them, had warned him that fears become nightmares here, and nightmares become real, and he had been afraid he would spend the entire time trying not to think of Stay Puft Marshmallow Men, but once in the ocean of red grass it felt easier -natural even- to merely focus in the moment and go with the flow. {I can see how one would get lost in here [he thought] Time means nothing. It would be so easy to let go... and forget...}

The store felt like an oasis of interest -a must-see attraction for a backpacking tourist in this strange new world. He had to enter it. "Hello? [He called, tentatively, as he pushed open the door, a small piece of glass falling on the dusty floor] My name is Conner. I've never been here before. My first time... [he walked slowly through the shelves, intrigued by what could possibly be inside these boxes. Curiosity got the better of him, and he picked one, bringing it to the back, where the voice came from, as if he could pay for it]."

He had heard the Eisenhower Intestate creepypasta before -only metal coinage for the store, and he had come prepared with a stack of quarters and a single silver dollar his father gave him once, for his thirteenth birthday. He would trade that dearly, only if he had to.

"Excuse me [he said to whoever what saying something about fathers and monologues?] Where am I? What is this place?"

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet

-=[Live Forever]=-

Trapturtle's picture

Eliza Penroe

Combat: 
HYB, HY
Magic: 
, NYA
Influence: 
EY
Else: 
EYB EY

Eliza is stunned for a second as she's overwhelmed by the display. {Who are these people? How do they live like this? No, I'm here for Conner. Don't get distracted}

"Uh, let's see, I mean, I have some money" {Three hundred twenty seven dollars and sixteen cents in my account. No Eliza, that's not what they mean, that's never what they mean.}

"He's my brother, I think he might be in trouble. He disappeared around here and I'm looking for information. I NEED to find him."

Suddenly she was standing up straight, doing her best to project confidence. {This is where I need to be brave, like Rey, or Ripley. You can do this.}

"His name's Conner, and I'm not leaving until I get some information." Her fist was shaking at this point. It could have been from fear or anger, but either way she wasn't going to back down. She looked the girl on the left straight in the eye, unflinching.

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet
DarkMoonINC's picture

Inside the nameless building Conner receives no response. There are boxes of old food, much spoiled. Cans of preserves. Supplies. Eighty percent of the place has been pillaged and only odds and ends remain, abandoned. It's an apocalyptic site, even the cash register sits sideways. The place smells of odd ends, none of them pleasant.

Near the back of the store he discovers a second smaller store inside it, a video rental place now long out of business, the letters mostly scraped away so only a V and T remain. Old VHS line every inch of the shelves. Aside the tapes, however, are bodies.

Five bodies across the floorspace are lounging on the floor, as if bored and sleeping. Each of their heads is a Television set with VCR built in. They are not injured but they don't move or breathe. Conner notices a TV set at the back and it's playing a copy of David Cronenberg's Videodrome flickering on fuzzy cathode ray.

A movement catches his eye. One of the bodies closest to him, a man with a green Charlie Brown striped shirt and dress pants, has a copy of Blue's Clues Blue's Safari halfway in. His hands twitch, go still, fidgit, stop moving. It seems both alive and not at the same time.

On the sales counter where a large TV is playing Videodrome, a scene in the movie in which a young James Woods is messing with a tape deck and tells his assistant "Look here. The tape's stuck. Help me unwedge it. Retrack the reel and... yeah, like that, now it should play. Look. That's the footage I was telling you. You ever seen crazy shit like that in your life?"

ACROSS THE VEIL

One of the girls eyes Eliza's shaking hand. She squishes her mouth sideways in thought. The other girls offers for her to come in. "Come on in Conner's sister." she moves towards the table and sits in the chair. The shorter one, still contorted in thinking, grins wide.

"I'm Laurie and she's Suzy." Laurie offers her to come in. "Thirsty? I'll grab you something." The shorter teenager moves towards the kitchen to grab plastic Slurpee cups from various gas stations across state.

"Your brother came around here. Though I'd like to know what snitch told." Suzy says, hands clenches almost nervously - though if it was a pitch of joy or anxiety Eliza could not tell. "Come, sit down. Relax. We'll tell you what we know."

"We know snitches get stitches." Laurie giggles as she fills the glass. "Your brother was cute, by the way. But we were not allowed to see him long." She offers from a fridge containing purple stuff, orange juice, milk, and Diet Peach Faygo.

Behind them, down the hallway, Eliza can clearly now see it ends at a metal door leading to the large complex behind the house. Down the hall the walls are covered, the ceiling too. From inside the ceiling of the entire living room is covered, though the walls up here seem sparse. A bedroom she can see into has covered walls as well.

All of the surfaces are covered with movie posters. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead, Halloween, Rolling Thunder, The Mack, Last House On The Left, They Call Her One Eye, House of 1,000 Corpses, Clockwork Orange, Taxi Driver, Night Breed. New posters, not yet hung, sit curled in a corner behind an end table.

The longer she's here, the more little details start to take on sinister or unsettling qualities. Such as how the two of them look at her with a disconcertingly intense focus. Eliza's never been observed with attention like this, not even by family.

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet
Forge's picture

Conner Penroe

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

"Yeah... I get it. I think I get it... [says Conner, pushing the Blue's Clues tape the rest of the way in] this is who you guys are, right? Blue's Clues is a damn good choice because I need all the clues I can get".

Conner was never a hardcore cinephile, but he had good enough awareness of which movies made it to VHS once, and how they could help him now. These five mannequins -for that's how he sees them- are blank canvases waiting to be imprinted with the personification of the 80's movie gods. {Only in the Summerland, [he thinks], movies not only come to life but they are actually personified... wow.}

"Ghostbusters [says Conner, picking the tape from the shelf] boy, did the remake suck. I need a partner who can go ghost busting with me, maybe even- [he suddenly stops.] {What if get Zuul instead though?} [The thought runs like a chill down his spine]... maybe not Ghostbusters... [he pushes the tape back on the shelf]".

Conner turns on his heel and takes a second look at the man who has just received the Blue's Clues 'programming'. This will take some deeper consideration.

{Five people here, videoheads I'll call them, and the worst thing I could possibly do is feed them the kind of shit the dirty wiccans watch. Last thing I need is a cannibal hillbilly family, or fucking Rob Zombie anything chasing me around. Gotta play this smart...}

Five choices for five bodies. One is made already: Blue's Clues, and seems solid -if a little cryptic in the advice he expects to receive in the form of clues. Next up: RoboCop. Lawful good and relentless. He slides it carefully on the strongest looking man of the five. Three to go. He needs an advisor... Karate Kid? {Nah, I don't need the kid. I need master Miyagi... hmmm...}.

"Dirty Harry? He'll shoot RoboCop. Indiana Jones? Way too much risk." Suddenly his barely 18 year old eyes notice the fact that two of the dummies are female -pretty good bodies too.

No one is watching him. Hormones and curiosity take over. Emanuelle 1 and 2 it is, just for the kicks. Just to see what happens. This is the kind of thing Conner does, rebel experimenter. And the last and fifth tape: the wizard of Oz, a total wildcard.

As all five tapes are in, Conner steps back to watch what happens... Blue's Clues, RoboCop, two Emmanuel's and the Wizard of Oz? This could go anywhere....

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet

-=[Live Forever]=-

silverdrake3's picture

Belinda Anne DeRege

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

Skip loves riding in the van, but he loves walks even more. As Linda gets out to pay for her stay, install the hookups, and other minor details, her dog is running from one end of the vehicle to the other, poking his head first through the tiny window in the back, then the driver's window, barking as he races up and down the aisle with enthusiasm. Most would call Skip poorly trained, but to Linda he is simply expressing himself.

She finishes up quickly, stepping back inside to hunt down one of his leashes. She always uses the short one for new places. The braided leather lead clips on nicely to his collar, and with no further ceremony they are out the door.

"Let's go see where that auction will be set up. It's a hike, but I know you won't complain." Linda grins as Skip bounces about on the end of his line, barking his gratitude and urging her to get just the walk started already. There were so many things to smell, so many new telephone poles and fire hydrants to mark. This is easily his favorite part of traveling with Linda.

She hadn't expected to get a dog. It simply happened. One day she parked at a camp ground that had an attached dog park, and on the other side of that was an animal shelter. A volunteer was walking him, and it was like the moment he saw her he knew exactly who he wanted to be with. The young dog practically dragged his person over to meet her, to lick her face and roll in the grass by her feet. Linda simply couldn't turn away from that, so she adopted him that day. Her parents would surely disapprove when they found out, but a traveling companion was exactly what she needed.

The pair set off in the direction of the auction house, dog skipping and sniffing at the end of his lead, human following him for the most part as her expression grows gradually more preoccupied. Something was very odd about this place, and she can't put her finger on what.

She wonders, what does a city sound like when it cries for help?

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet
Trapturtle's picture

Eliza Penroe

Combat: 
HYB, HY
Magic: 
, NYA
Influence: 
EY
Else: 
EYB EY

"I'll have some tea" {No, that's too stuffy for this place. Then again rats are probably too stuffy for this place.} "Iced tea, if you have it. Please" [Her eyes dart around the room, trying not to settle on anything for too long. Everything made her uncomfortable, especially the part about snitches]

"I don't care what's going on here, what this place is. I'm just here to find my brother, nothing else." [Taking whatever drink is offered, Eliza politely takes a sip.] "You said he wasn't here for long, is he still somewhere around this..." {What do you call a place like this? A Commune? A Cult? A mental health facility?} "Around here? If not I'd like any information on where he went."

{Must be big movie fans. Maybe I could use that. Find common ground, establish trust. No no no, you hate horror movies. That time Conner convinced me to watch The Thing when we were kids, I had nightmares for a week. Horror movies invoke fear to simulate an adrenaline rush. I know there's nothing that should bother me, but somehow it does.}

"I could even look around myself if you two are busy with something, miss." {Damn, I forgot her name. How can I remember pi to a hundred digits, but can't remember the name of someone I was just introduced to? I should research human memory when I have a chance. No focus Eliza, don't forget why you're here.} [Her eyes snap back to her hosts, only to be met with a cold stare and a sinister grin.]

Give Kudos: 
0
Average: 5 (1 vote)
DarkMoonINC's picture

Blue's Clues SetHead touches itself, feeling the confines of a body. The video starts playing the tape, low music of the show opens as little characters dance on the screen. Blue stands, slowly, looking around the room as it watches Conner fill his brethren. One by one they stand up, checking themselves as if they didn't know their bodies.

RoboCop turns around, looking towards the mess of a video store and the remains of the shopping center. Conner notices the button on the back of RoboCop's head , large enough for a human palm, bright red and inscribed with black letters that spell the word MURDER.

"...my friend Blue is going on Safari!"

As the Emmanuels stand up and sizing each other like rivals, they turn to RoboCop for guidance. Conner can tell they all have the red MURDER button back there. Wizard of Oz stands up last, slow, shaking his television set head, and braces himself on one of the Emmanuels. His body quakes with weakness.

"-don't care what you have to do Officer Murphy. Bring them to justice."

The five stand quietly, their tapes playing normal. After a bit of silence they start to edge their way around him, only RoboCop and Blue aren't terrified, the other three make their way to the door to cower. Blue seems neutral, unafraid and hands in pockets as if simply observing. Maybe he's not afraid, maybe he's just resigned.

"A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others."

RoboCop shuffles his Hawaiian shirted body in backward steps, protective, like a barrier between Conner and the other four SetHeads. It's like Conner is facing down a pack of pack of wild, starved, and beaten animals. Their bodies shiver at him as they edge back into the shopping isles. But there they wait, watching, nervous. Are they waiting for something? RoboCop is studying him, he knows it, every time Conner moves his eyes to that SetHead the tiny RoboCop playing on the cathode screen seems to be staring at him but when he looks the tiny image changes to another scene. Maybe they think running won't work? Conner remembers the button again.

"I have only one wish, Dona. My freedom."

They stand in nervous fear.

MEANWHILE

Dog walking across Minneapolis turns out to be an exciting venture for both of them. Linda passes the Institute of Art. It's like the White House, all grand and tall, pillars out front. To the left she sees a metal sculpture of an angel, hands clenched to chest and looking to the right as if in thought or sorrow. The angel stands on the back of a wolf or dog with slightly dragonlike features. The animal stretches like a table, loyal or obedient through fear, still and waiting. The angel wields a sword, waiting, vigilant.

There's Minnehaha Park. The bridge across rapid rocks, white foam misting down waterfalls. Other dogs pass and confront Skip only momentarily before their owners, eyes on their Apple Watches, yank the dogs past. Green is everywhere. The city is most alive here, it's soul flourishes. In the trees along a path, Belinda spies a bronze statue of an worn Ojibwe warrior who carries his aging grandmother in his arms as he walks. The plaque reads: Nokomis and Hiawatha.

Then there's a fifty foot long bent spoon with a cherry perched on tip against gravity itself.

She can hear the city in pain. It's afraid. Each honk and slammed door and buzzing alarm and mist spewing vent is nervous and afraid. The city feels safe with her here but not safe enough. It's unsettled by what goes on in it's walls.

The building she uncovers appears to have once been a church or temple. The auctions have wrapped up for the day but she can get a look inside. No one says a thing about the dog but some people eye her oddly. The location is called Aldermen Auction. Inside the pews have been converted for an Auction, with black paddle boards at each seat. Air conditioning is nice in here, ice cold in fact, as men in worker jumpsuits haul art and sculptures and button collections away on dollies for wealthy people in outfits that would cost more than her whole camper.

The host, or proprietor, a strange bald man with a clean goatee and a dark green suit watches her, speaking with a pair of affluent citizens. The woman in the designer dress carries a tiny yappy dog in her hand bag who growls at Skip. The woman shoots Linda a distasteful look that, being noticed, suddenly becomes a forced smile as she turns back to the host.

ELSEWHERE

Laurie throws her hands up in despair and leaves to another room. Suzy stretches her legs out, hands pulling up her shorts so more leg is exposed, almost as if trying to seduce Eliza but those watching eyes, it's a test. She's observing Eliza like prey.

There's a sound of metal on metal from the back but before she can react Suzy scoots up next to her. "Hey. So, we're like a big family here." She leans in and back out as she talks, as if showing she's overstepped personal space but not really doing anything to move. "Me and Laurie aren't real sisters. You know. We're sisters here." she touches her chest, feeling her own heart. "And our BIG Sisters, we got some big mean moms we call Sisters with a capital S, they look out for the entire family."

There's a cursing sound, quiet, but Eliza can hear it echo up from the back room. Her own heart is thundering now, this whole place feels too weird and tense. Then abruptly there's a calm plateau epiphany and Eliza's heart goes cold.

On the posters across from her she can see the films Halloween and Susperia. Halloween, the poster says, staring Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode. Susperia, the poster says, staring Jessica Harper as Suzy Bannion.

Locked in that sudden connection, she is startled when Laurie hands her an Arizona Ice Tea. "Hey, you ok? You seem a little freaked out. We keep these in the back freezer or the boys drink them all." she snorts, sitting across from Eliza. "So, your brother. You tell her Suze?"

Suzy seems discouraged, scooting back over to her side, scrounging for a smoke-able cigarette in the butts. "You ruined it, bitch."

Laurie crosses her legs in a smile, hands on the knee. "Bite me." she blows her tongue at Suzy, then turns back to Eliza. "We're a big family here. Call it the Trip. If you're in the Trip, you're good as blood. We protect our own, ya know? And your brother comes around here asking questions about magic and devils and shit. And the Sisters, they want to keep the Hive quiet, you get me? So he went there, to keep quiet. Loose lips sink ships."

"To keep damn quiet." Suzy sits up, smoking a terribly small cigarette butt. She chokes in coughing.

Laurie leans into her seat. "If anyone knows where he is, it's the Sisters. You go ahead and ask them where he went. Word of advice, Ilsa and Frigga are both sort of Cougars. Hell, most of the Sisters can't pass up a hot pretty face like Conner. He might not want to be found. Ya dig?"

Give Kudos: 
0
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Forge's picture

Conner Penroe

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

"I'm not a threat guys [says Conner, doing the universal open palms gesture.] I'm unarmed [he drops the duffel bag] this is all new to me".

Very slowly, Conner maneuvers so that he is no longer blocking the exit -even if it means his own back is against the wall.

"I'm a traveler. I came alone -found you here. You were dead -maybe not dead, maybe sleeping. You needed these tapes to come back to life, so I pushed them into you. Because I need your help"

He looks at each of them in turn. "I needed someone to keep us safe -a protector [gestures to RoboCop] and of course, RoboCop needs innocents to protect [the Emmanuel's]. Then Blue and Oz can advise us, tell us where to go in this strange land. Tell us where is safe, and where is out".

The following takes a special effort to say, but he errs in the side of honesty whenever he has to gamble: "Whatever you do, please don't push the 'murder' button at the back of your heads. That can't be good".

After a few seconds of consideration, Conner tries to listen rather than just talk. Blue's Clues seems to be saying that the trust of the group is at stake, and RoboCop wants freedom. The girls are obviously wary, and so is Oz.

"Tell me, how can I help you? Whatever you need from me, if I can do it, I will."

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet

-=[Live Forever]=-

silverdrake3's picture

Belinda Anne DeRege

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

The dog would clearly rather play with strangers, to the point that he assumes that everything that pays him the slightest of attention wants to do the same thing. The quiet of the auction house is disturbed by his delighted bark at the little dog, his fluffy tail wagging so hard it repeatedly beats against Linda's leg.

"Not here, Skip, down!"

He is confused, looking back at his master with large pleading eyes. Linda tugs on his leash, hooking her fingers into his collar as she guides her animal around the room. Her skin prickles, and not just from the cold. She makes one lap around the room, trying to sneak a peek underneath the tarps as she goes, but otherwise more interested in the people than the objects.

When the opportunity presents itself, she approaches the curator, with Skip standing obediently at her side. She's seen a few auctions before this, and how her family conducts themselves, so she takes on the same air of aristocracy as she offers her hand to shake, introducing herself as Belinda DeRege. Whether the name preceded her or not she could never guess, but dropping it tended to have good results in the right places.

"I'm wondering what it would take to put one of my own pieces up for auction," she explains. "Will there be bidding tomorrow?"

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet
DarkMoonINC's picture

The SetHeads look at each other cautiously, as if communicating in secret waves. They stand patiently for Conner to move.

"Blue and I are hiding under sheet. There's scary monsters outside the window!" one says, showing a tiny Steve and cartoon dog under and animated blanket.

RoboCop displayed two background beat cops next to their squadcar watching Robocop walk by. "There's a lot of criminal scum out there. Some of them hunt cops like sport."

They turn to Conner and just stand there. Off in the distance they hear a dog bark, far away, but they grow nervous again. The Emmanuels grab onto RoboCop. Oz has been studying the Emmanuel twin's heads, as if finally seeing the MURDER buttons for the first time.

"We need to follow the Yellow Brick Road." Dorothy says to Toto on a luminescent square. "Otherwise we'll never get back to Kansas."

The more he watches them move as a unit, the more he begins to think of ants or sheep. They seem less of a distinct person, each of them, and more of a canvas over which a dim and bleached copy image of a film flickers. Like echos of films, with little more than surviving and hiding on their minds. The little screens never directly address Conner, aside RoboCop always seeming to LOOK in his direction, but he can tell some of these "Director's Cut" scenes seem too coincidental. Limited to whatever is on the tape but pushing it to a boundary.

WHILE BACK IN THE REALSIDE

After the last wealthy patron has left, some very happy to see the dog, others disgusted, the Patron turns to her. He takes her hand and at the name a roll of reaction seems to come over him. He rides it for a brief second and regains himself.

"Yesh, shorry. I am Lumír Bellator. I am a shpecial Envoy to the Mister Aldermen himshelf who ish rarely available." he smiles, turning to an office. "Shall you come and shit down? Ash long ash the dog doesh not jump around, we may do bushinessh."

His accent is very foreign, with some cross between Hindi, Czech, and Nigerian. It's very hard to place, especially with the gap in his teeth that whistle and slur his s sounds. He makes strange little waves with his hands in old European expressive fidgeting, he pulls a small handkerchief that he wipes to his head and neck in a timing she can almost place on her clock. He's larger than his suit, it squeezes at him and in the ice cold central air conditioning it becomes more unnerving to see how much he sweats.

Lumir's face is oily and moist, like he's in a desert. No matter what anyone says to him about it, he refuses. On the way there his young male Secretary offers him a soaked blanket but he shakes his head, saying he'sh fine.

Behind the desk he opens a drawer and pulls out two metal balls, one of them black, one of them white. Metallic, they click. He swirls them in his left hand, smooth and quick. Suddenly the sweat reduces and after moments the suit seems bigger, or he smaller, as he relaxes to a point one would expect. Skip is shivering after a while, and behind his desk Lumir's breath seems to respond in mists. The faster the metal balls turn, the lower the temperature seems to get.

"Sho. What short of piesh ish it? Shit down. A drink, I'll have Dennish get you a drink." he smiles wide, his teeth perfect with two of them gold plated but only show when he smiles like this. "There'sh biddingsh today and tomorrow, every week, shuch sherendipity for you to pick the right part of the week. I can shhow you the docket of itemsh on the block." he slides a piece of paper over from many copies in his desk. "We might be able to shqueesh you in."

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet
silverdrake3's picture

Linda takes the offered seat, with Skip leaning against her knee. Being a poodle, the cold normally wouldn't bother him, but he had just the day previously been given a short haircut to combat the heat, so he seeks comfort on his master's knee. She strokes his neck with one hand as she takes the offered list with the other, glancing it over with only casual interest.

"I don't really know what I like until I see it. I just wanted to go to one auction for once without my mother trying to outbid me." She smirks briefly and pulls her phone out of the side pocket of her cargo pants, pulling up the gallery. "I do have some art pieces cluttering my van. I thought an auction was just the place to look for new owners." She offers the device, pulled to one of her favorite pieces.

At the top of a hill behind a crumbling garden wall, a stand of birch trees are painted rose by the light of a setting sun. In the foreground, an oak has grown out of the side of the masonry, its bark wrapped around the cracks of the stone. Half of its branches are leafless, dead and brittle, but one bough from the side stretches out toward the sun, defiantly thrusting young leaves toward the sky. The shadows cast are so deep, they come up black on the little screen.

"This is the first I am putting for sale. I call it 'Leafless in Spring'. It's the second I painted since I left Harvard, my first series. Sell them individually or as a set of four, I don't care." She reaches over, swiping ahead to the same scene in the midday shine of summer, autumn at sunrise, and a moonlit winter's night. "The pictures don't do them justice. If you want to see them in person, you'll have to come back to my van because I am not lugging them all here."

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet
Forge's picture

Conner Penroe

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

Conner nods slowly, as he appraises the situation.

"Okay. Danger out there; we gotta move. Got it."

He opens his duffel bag, and parts of him start to feel guilty for having experimented with the Emanueles. He doesn't know if they're 'real' -doesn't know what 'real' even means in here- but they seem to be sentient, and while not in pain, they're at least in distress. He doesn't usually get very philosophical with the definitions of 'good' and 'evil', but causing distress to a sentient creature, real or not, fits nearly every definition of evil especially when he has no better reason for it than 'two chicks at the same time, man'.

The time for regret will come eventually, in any case. For now he feels responsible for the well-being of these creatures, and is duty-bound to bring them to safety -whatever that word means in here. Conner remembers from what little warning the dirty wiccans gave him, that spending too much time in the Summerland is not good for one's sanity. He can see why.

"Gotta see the Wizard of Oz [he tells Oz] can you lead us down the yellow brick road? And Officer Murphy [he turns to RoboCop] you need to deputize us, if we're going to go out there and face the crime in the streets. We're going to need weapons -do you have any?"

He looks around for anything he could possibly wield as a weapon before leaving the building -he's too new to the Shadowside and hasn't internalized yet that Belief Makes Reality, else he would be finding more than he's seeking.

"Blue, we need to go out and find some clues, okay? We're going to be fine. Officer Murphy and I will protect you all from the monsters. And girls, uhh... [he blinks for a few seconds trying to think of what to say in 'emanuelleese'...] ah, just come along and stay close OK? We'll be fine."

He loads into the duffel bag VHS tapes for Rambo, Commando and Superman, just in case, plus whatever else feels like it could be of use in a fight, and opens again the screen door.

"Let's go, gang. Let's find the Emerald City".

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet

-=[Live Forever]=-

DarkMoonINC's picture

(On weekends and slow days I can respond twice, at your pace of course.)

Lumir flicks through the tiny pictures, entranced, until he comes across the haunted woman painting she just finished. He stares for a while at it, lost in thought, and nods. “We’ll put any of them up you are willing to sell. These, I believe, would grab the attention of many of our clientele.” He refers to the more disturbing ones she’s painted.

He turns to a filing cabinet and pulls out a folder, removing printed copies. “These are consignment forms. Bring them with you tomorrow, before the auction. 3pm sharp, no later. Early is fine.”

Lumir lifts, offering a handshake. “Please, I have much end of day paperwork to fill out.” if she takes his hand he’s hot, very hot, not burning but uncomfortable, well above what a human should feel like. He also starts sweating profusely again, dabbing himself with the handkerchief. “My assistant Dennis will drive you back, if you wish, and he’ll show you which paintings we would like. He can even bring them back for you.”

Outside, Dennis, a young brunet fellow with wide optimistic eyes, the look of an intern yet uncrushed by the dregs of years in employment, sits patiently at his desk chair, listening in on the conversation.

Skip seems very nervous here. The longer she stays, the more quiet and uncomfortable he is. Deep inside he’s making a soft whining sound in his throat.

BACK IN THE SHADOWSIDE

Given orders, they spring into action. The five quickly search the store, looking for objects. RoboCop discovers a crowbar in the storage room. Blue searches beneath a register to discover a baseball bat. Oz has discovered a medicine cabinet and has thrown medical supplies into a children’s backpack he slides on himself.

The two Emmanuels fight over a fire extinguisher. One wins, the other seems outraged and scrounges in a back room, returning with a fire axe. She slowly approaches the first Emmanuel, heaving with anger, lifting the ax as if to kill her and take the fire extinguisher, before RoboCop steps in the way. She shrinks, almost begging forgiveness in her stance. He yanks the Fire Axe from her hands, and replaces it with his previous crowbar. She looks at the crowbar like a dead slug.

RoboCop rallies them around to Conner, nodding for him to lead. The two women, their screens showing tiny affectionate women seducing men, move to Conner and hide behind him, caressing his back. The rest stand aside, at shoulders, now more confident, facing toward the door with their discovered objects. They’ve turned down their volume switches, the tiny screens playing the tapes on loop in dull inaudible motions.

Outside the world has changed. The grassy fields he’d travelled here through have vanished. Ahead, in all directions, packed dirt gives rise to canyon walls of wrecked cars. Trash piles in places. A maze of garbage and metal wreckage lies ahead. A junkyard.

Deeper in the junkyard, the direction impossible to detect, barking dogs echo across these windswept valleys. The main large road through and ahead has thick markings, caterpillar tracks, the kind on large construction vehicles.

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet
Trapturtle's picture

Eliza Penroe

Combat: 
HYB, HY
Magic: 
, NYA
Influence: 
EY
Else: 
EYB EY

"So that's it? I go to ask the sisters? Th-thank you very much."
[Eliza stood up fast and moved for the metal door, still holding the can. She didn't see a garbage can anywhere, unless you count the floor. She puts her hand on the cold doorknob.] "So can I just go in there and talk to them by myself? I mean, you don't need to worry about it, you can just stay here doing whatever you were doing." [Eliza makes a serious effort not to sound condescending] Am I allowed to take "the Trip" on my own?

{Talk about sisterhood and family, assumed identities, a sectioned off community. This place is definitely a cult. What if they've abducted Conner? No Eliza, calm down. It's not the bad, just don't drink the koolai...}

[That moment she looks down at the can of iced tea in her hand and a chill runs down her spine.] {What if they put something in the drink? Was that how they got Conner? No, calm down, you have a contingency}

About a week ago, Eliza realized she could be in real danger with the search for her brother. She was determined to find him, but she had to bring insurance. Her smartphone had a custom app she'd written that worked like a deadman's switch. If she didn't put in a code every four hours her phone would send a message to the police with her location and plea for help.

[Suddenly panicking, Eliza pushed forward into the Trip.]

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet
Trapturtle's picture

(Sorry for the lack of participation the last few days. It's been a rough week.)

Give Kudos: 
0
Average: 5 (1 vote)
DarkMoonINC's picture

(No worries, everyone is at their pace. Here's a mid day response just for you.)

The backrooms down the hallway are empty but look like people party here. Hard. Condoms, drugs, and worse, video games! The door seems locked. In her time of contemplation she turns to see them both there with wide grins, they reach for her in tense slow moments and as she feels like the worst is coming-

They unlock the latch she'd overlooked in her fear. The door swings open.

"And we totally spiked your drink." Suzy whispers eerily. She's lying, though Eliza probably won't realize it at first. It's plain psychological terror.

Outside the view explodes in light. A playground park where rides look rusted and every inch spray painted but they do seem to operate well. Behind her Laurie and Suzy move forward until Eliza finds herself on grass. They say in unison "Have fun, sexy." before bursting into laughter and shutting and locking the door.

Ahead are what look to be three city blocks that have been walled off by houses, a square park strip between houses and the Hive, a name scrawled in spray paint across the middle city block closest. Rough loose construction always half finished network between the Hive's apartment buildings. Three stories high, five in places, the Hive looks like it's name and it's teaming with shadow movements she can never catch directly. Then there's the smell, one of everything wrong with a city. Every bodily fluid and chemical output, drugs and gunsmoke and barbecue grills. It's the most potent "downtown" she's ever seen which is very contrast the clean and well kept park between her and he Hive. And the noise. It's a cacophony of radios dominating the ears, squabbling voices, trashcan bags crinkle aside the pop of soda cans opening. Multiple windows above cry out with hard sex, though in at least one she sees it's from a horror film on a bigscreen. It's a teeming nest of people but they seem to keep to dark corners.

She hears giggles. Dozens of dirty, lanky children play on slides in the park. Some have built tree houses and forts in the grass, there's something that looks like a mole hill tunnel down. The kids have their own Kingdom, it feels like. And dozens of eyes watch her, calm, like she's not worth stopping playtime but they can't wait to see what horror awaits her.

A signpost in the park playground reads in hand painted letters: Lambs of God. There's a shoddy metal gate leading into the Hive only a hundred feet ahead, it reads a sign that says Goats Go To Hell. Breaking her concentration, a paper airplane flies right by her face, the wind current under it stings her eyes, but she can't see who threw it, they resume playing.

If she happens to catch the paper airplane and unfold the note, she would find it said in toddler scratch letters "PLAYTIME NEVER ENDS".

( Woo weee. I made you a MAP just in case you are confused. )

Give Kudos: 
0
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Forge's picture

Conner Penroe

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

Conner takes a deep breath, taking in the new sights. The gentle touch of the Emanueles causes involuntary shivers.

{I can do this [he says to himself] I started with nothing. Now there's six of us, and we're armed. Granted, five of us have 'murder' buttons, but still...}

Best he had been able to scrounge up by himself was an old but large screwdriver. It can work like a shiv, in a pinch. Or in a stab.

"So this will be like preaching to the choir [he says to the group] but what I've heard about the Summerland is that it mirrors your thoughts. Things that you fear, or hope for -doesn't really matter as long as you think of it long enough, hard enough. [It dawns on him that the giant junkyard is almost the perfect maze]. So here's the plan: we're going to follow the yellow brick road and reach Emerald City, got it? I think all of us have heard of the Wizard of Oz. So all of us can focus on it. And you sir [he turns to Oz] you're our guide. Just follow your instincts. If it's going to be natural for anyone, it'll be you -literally the living personification of that story. Officer Murphy, you guard the rear, Blue, with Oz so you'll be first to spot any clues, and girls stay close [felt good saying that part] let's go."

And so the Fellowship of the Videotape starts making its way through the junkyard maze, carefully, and hoping every moment to follow anything that looks like a yellow brick road, weapons in hand, ready for whatever their own psyche throws at them.

{If anything, this is where it may have been a good idea after all to make the Emanueles. If everything the dirty wiccans said it's true, then the worse these girls can imagine is a lot less dangerous than the worse RoboCop or Oz could imagine. But there's two of them and one of everyone else, so... should be safe? I think?}

Conner should feel terrified: he's lost in a dangerous and maddening universe with no clear way out, surrounded by crazies. Instead he feels quietly confident, excited even -on an adventure. He pockets the screwdriver {less chances of needing to use it if I don't anticipate using it} and walks on, in the middle of the party, humming the tune of {we're going to see the Wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz...}

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet

-=[Live Forever]=-

DarkMoonINC's picture

The maze winds. But Oz seems to have taken on a new life. Once relegated to hiding in the back, thinking, and choosing of all "weapons" a medical kit, his behavior has shifted to that of explorer. He's pushing ahead, stopping to think and look, pushing onwards. He turns his volume up to match Conner during songs. He likes playing the songs now.

Behind him the Emmanuelles bicker over who gets to be closest to Conner. From the tiny conversations he picks up on their screens they seem to have a history with each other, a long history, and giving them movies from the same series has only fueled their animosity.

The sound of dogs is now behind them, as they've reached a point in the Junkyard that Conner can no longer see the store he found them in. He catches a glimpse of one back there. It's a large beast, three feet to the shoulder. A wolf or very wild dog, hulking jaw open. It eyes him for a moment and then skitters perpendicular. They're circling. Flanking. Smart dogs.

"We're surrounded." RoboCop blurts out on the screen. "Better keep moving. Can't let em corner us."

"We've got to get back to the yellow brick road!" Dorothy responds from a screen. "Or we'll never get home to Kansas.

A few feet ahead Oz jumps up and down, super excited. He grabs Conner's shoulder and points down a thin canyon hall to a door set in some sort of structure. A graphic design sign reads Yellow Brick Grill & Bar, aside it a large double metal door sits locked with chains and a flimsy padlock. There's a good several dozen feet to the door, and Conner can hear more wolves now, closer.

Ahead, down a main large road, he sees what looks like a very large Bulldozer. The front curved blade, a massive wall tall and menacing even from here, is coated in blood and meat chunks, rusted and scraped and dented. Well used. The driver appears to be made entirely from Junk himself. Made of a motor engine topped with a metal pot turned upside down, arms comprised of food cans stitched together. He's made of steel, iron, and tin, man. Only the stomach up is exposed over the Bulldozer dashboard. This machine is what left the tire tracks through all the largest valleys, and it's just wide enough to allow little room to pass by on either side.

The engine on the Bulldozer springs to life, belching black smoke up and above. The wolves behind have stopped to growl. The SetHeads all pull in close, back to back in a circle, right near Conner.

"Oh." The titular Emmanuelle laments from both screens at once, as they both play the same scene in unison. "Whatever shall I do upon this cruel fate of mine?"

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet
silverdrake3's picture

Belinda Anne DeRege

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

Linda smiles the way mother taught her to when reconsidering a deal. Calm, confident, friendly, even if something about the chill of the room and his attention to the darker pieces made her seriously doubt this is the right place for her paintings.

"Thank you very much," she says, taking the offered papers with a polite nod, "but Skip could use the exercise. We'll be walking back. Thank you for your time."

Skip leads the way out, pulling on the lead in his haste to get away. The hair on his back prickles, but it has been cut so short and his fur is so curly that a casual observer wouldn't be able to pick it up, but Linda does. She pats his shoulder comfortingly as they step out into the sunlight again, but says nothing as she turns and heads onward, deeper into the city.

"Did that place bug you too, Skip?" she asks softly once they are out of earshot. She sighs, glancing back, but certain they weren't followed. "Yeah, he liked that Madonna painting a little.. too much?" She opens her phone, flipping back to the painting, her red-soaked cheeks and haunting expression. "I'm not selling it. She has too much to tell me yet."

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet
Forge's picture

Conner Penroe

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

{Think-goddamnit-think!}

Conner stands in the middle of the group, between a rock and hard place, or more literally, glancing back and forth between the butcher-dozer and the evil wolves.

{OK, first of all: Oz is working. It's fucking working, and he found the Yellow Brick... Bar. He's believing it, making it real. But fear is working too, and the Emanueles are making it worse. It's a wonder we haven't seen winged monkeys yet and-}

"Okay listen everybody! [Instinctively he opens his arms, as if to shield the girls behind him] I know it's scary, but the bulldozer is actually the Tin-Man. Got it? He's gonna be on our side. He's here to help us with the wolves [he points at the beasts] those are the winged monkeys! But you gotta believe this! You have to!"

Not much time left.

"Officer Murphy, break the padlock with your fire ax! [He points to the doors of the Yellow Brick bar] you can do this, go!"

No sense pitting their best and only strongman against multiple wolves. Getting that door open pronto, instead, is the best use for RoboCop right now.

"The rest of you, you gotta believe me: that bulldozer is the Tin-Man. [He is so intent in convincing them that he has no time to doubt himself] Oz here has been doing such great job that his story is taking over, you all saw it! He sprung to life, he activated, he lead us to the Yellow Brick Road. He's making this happen, and that means the bulldozer is the Tin-Man. That means he's gonna help us!"

Conner swallows, and pulls out the screwdriver from his pocket.

"Girls, and Blue, go after officer Murphy. Once he opens the doors you dive right in, you hear me? Oz and I have someone to meet. We'll be right behind you [he looks to Oz, his face half scared, half full of conviction] We're gonna do this, Oz. Just like you found the bar. We're gonna signal Tin-Man he's our friend. He's gonna mop up the wolves. And for the love of God, when he comes barreling down the canyon, find a crevice and dive!"

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet

-=[Live Forever]=-

DarkMoonINC's picture

Skip is much happier free of the confines of that auction house. Lumir and Dennis seem much more interested in dealing with their work than pursuing the matter.

Linda finds herself wandering into the seedy section of downtown. Some voice is calling her forwards a statue of Virgin Mary, cast off to the side in a vacant lot, half against the wall. An oil tanker has exploded some long time ago and the Mary statue is coated in black oil. Her eyes are the only thing spared, oddly, and it's like the statue is looking at her.

Behind her some shady men in baggy jeans with large jackets and baseball caps on sideways watch her. They seem to be relaxing in an alcove but when she walks the block, she sees the same men in a different alcove. They're following her.

Out in the city sirens wail into the sky. Dusk is cresting, it's the very end of evening. Eateries are bring in their evening rush, an Italian restaurant she passes brims with urban nightlife, few tourists here.

Skip seems happier than ever to get out of the Camper, and is smelling every street crack.

BACK IN THE SHADOWSIDE

RoboCop springs into action, rushing towards the door to open it. He's not pursued, it seems the enemies have their sights on Conner. Emmanuels follow him, Oz is backing up but wants to stay. Only Blue stands by Conner, ready to fight.

The wolfish monstrosities are advancing slowly. When they get closer, Conner can see they are not really dogs at all. They are junk, just like the man in the Bulldozer, molded to wolf shape, and between each crack of junk hair grows wildly. They are literal junkyard dogs.

"You are garbage. Conner. You are garbage-age-age-age." The voice squeals at first, like a megaphone. It's metallic vocoding, like that Portal video game, a machine voice and here this one is deeper, growly, guttural, and frequent to glitching repeating loops and feedback squelches. "My dogs brought-ought-ought you to me."

The man of metal lifts one junk cobbled leg up on the dash and points with three Claw Machine clawed hand up into the air, a filthy stuffed Mickey Mouse is impaled on his other Claw Machine hand. He points his clear hand to the sky and then Conner, in some villainous declaration.

"I am Junkman. I collect junk. You are junk. I come to collect you, Conner. You are a failure. You failed-ed-ed-ed. You are a disappointment. Abandoned your sister-er-er to come here. Didn't you? Let your father down, Conner-er-er. Everyone's happier with you gone-on. Your existence has always ebbed on the brink of uselessness-ess-ess. I am glad you have resigned from the world to take your place in the trash, where you belong-ong-ong." The machine makes a signal with it's hands and sits back down. "Look at the other junk you've collected, too. Six walking piles of garbage, all of you. Junk-unk-unk."

Oz turns to Conner and a little Dorothy says "I think the Tin Man's gone mad, rusted in the head all these lonely years." on the screen.

Blue shrugs, his little Steve on the screen replies. "Maybe some scary people just need a hug. Maybe they don't have love on the inside." He grips his crowbar tighter. "Let's hug them, and maybe they'll stop being so angry!" His motions, though, belie a much more violent story.

In a brief moment of insight, Conner can see that underneath all the Junkman's rusted and grease thick layers, there is a body underneath that could very well be the original 1939's Jack Haley Tin Man outfit, as if Tin Man was wearing power armor.

The bulldozer moves slowly along the canyon. Behind the junk dogs advance. To his right, through a small junk hallway, RoboCop has arrived and is striking the lock.

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet
Forge's picture

Conner Penroe

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

Conner smiles only ever so slightly... like a man who finally finds the missing word to complete the crossword puzzle. {I see. The junkyard. Junk, the uselessness of my life. Very clever, Summerland. Very clever, but no worse than my guidance counselor. No worse than what I've said to myself a million nights over already.}

"Fine. [Says Conner]. You got me. Here I am. I'll go with you willingly, but you have to let my companions go. Deal? [He turns to see RoboCop working on that padlock with the fire ax]. It's a fair deal, right? I come from the real world, as you apparently already know. I'm useless there. Garbage and nobody misses me, fine. But these five here [he looks briefly at Oz, then Blue] in the brief time we've been together their lives have gotten meaning. RoboCop there now lives to protect. The girls will love him back, and in doing so they'll find themselves, as they always do in those stories. Oz here found within himself the determination to lead us -he found the yellow brick road, just like I knew he would [he looks at him with pride.] Then Blue, do you know how much courage it takes for a children's cartoon to face a pack of wolves with only a baseball bat? A pack of giant wolves for christsake. He's not worthless now. None of them are. [He steps forward] And when you take me instead of them, I will be worth something too. To them [gives them one last glance, as hopefully Murphy is leading the girls into the safety of the bar now]. I'll mean something to them too."

He walks towards the bulldozer, slowly, arms open. He drops his screwdriver weapon on the dusty ground.

"So either collect me then, if you really think I'm garbage. [Conner takes a deep breath, staring straight at the original Tin-Man under all the layers of junk] or let me help out of there and come with us."

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet

-=[Live Forever]=-

Trapturtle's picture

Eliza Penroe

Combat: 
HYB, HY
Magic: 
, NYA
Influence: 
EY
Else: 
EYB EY

{Keep moving forward, always move forward.}

[Eliza had to stop for a second to keep herself from being overwhelmed, but she knew she couldn't falter. She could feel the eyes on her, like wolves stalking her. Waiting for a second of weakness to pounce.]

"Hey there"

[She gives a nervous half wave to the children and continues moving towards the hive. Pushing past the gate she hears a sickening creaking sound coming from the hinges.]

The whole place felt hot, or Eliza might just be sweating from nervousness. She unbuttoned her dark grey cardigan.

{It shouldn't be much farther, every step here feels like a mile. Human perception of time is largely determined by the amount of stimuli being experienced. Experiencing new things is the basis of growth and learning. This trip is a good thing.} [She hears a wet squish from something she just stepped on, she ignores it and keeps moving forward. Eventually she arrives at the Hive. While there are plenty of open windows, doors, and walls, Eliza heads for an out of place looking door with an ornate ram's head knocker. The whole place seems to go silent for a split second and Eliza swears she can hear the sound echo throughout the compound. She brushes her hair back out of her face and patiently waits for an answer.]

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet
DarkMoonINC's picture

Junkman scratches metal hook to metal chin and considers it. As the dogs circle in he whistles and they stop, obeying their master. Conner has been spared. Junk man sits taller, leaning to look at him. There's a glowering disappointment in the face.

"They told me you were a slippery fish, Conner. I thought they meant you'd fight well against my dogs. I didn't realize you'd out-logic me-me-me." he laughs in an angry scoffing fashion. "Very well. You have value. Yes." He waves and the junkyard dogs retreat. "You have value to them. Right now-ow-ow. I cannot collect you. Just yet."

Blue relaxes, keeping close to Conner. Behind, the others are surprised. Behind the locked door is more junk, they pull at the pieces frantically. Oz is with them there, the two women, and the fire ax wielding leader.

"Fine. Run. Eventually you will lose value again. All things lose value. Eventually." Junkman sighs. The Bulldozer turns down a side lane, out of sight. As it drives, Junkman turns to watch him as the vehicle slowly moves. "I will collect you. One day. I will wait and watch-atch-atch. The junk is always here. Always waiting. I will be waiting. Watching. From dreams. I will be there in your weakest moments. Watching-ing-ing. From garbage we come, to garbage we go."

With that the machine disappears into a dark maze of trash. The hallway into the Yellow Brick bar & Grill has been opened enough to enter. Casting aside a rusted children's gate, a rubber barricade from sporting events, a circus sign that reads PLAYTIME, a popcorn machine, and three bicycles, they gain clearance into a bigger hall. Most crawl inside, calling back to Conner. But Blue stands by his side, Baseball Bat at the ready.

As if with a sly grin, the screen next to him erupts in a song of "WE JUST FIGURED OUT BLUES CLUES! BECAUSE WE'RE REALLY SMART!"

MEANWHILE

Eliza can feel the eyes of malevolent children crawl over her but, as she enters the Hive proper, she is uncontested.

Inside, the strange place takes on a life of it's own. Two apartment complexes lift above her, several stories each. Between there is a street, sidewalks, mailboxes, like walking down a New York Street. Only the sun doesn't shine here. Vacant right now, the street is lifeless. Heavy Metal and Americana Pop Culture is spray painted on walls. The walls are a chaotic mural. They've colored every brick, here. And the sound of a dozen conflicting songs play across the Hive. The cacophony echoes and rattles down the walls, through cracks, creating a tunnel of sound.

One of the nearest doors, with an ornate Ram's head, opens to two men. Colored hair, spikes and mohawk. Piercings and tattoos. Serial Killer shirts. Behind them is an entire living room of people, mostly young adults. Some gawk, others are too stoned or wasted to care. A DJ in the kitchen is playing loud 70s Soul and Funk.

"What do you want?" one of the men snarls at her, pointing a chicken wing with a bit missing at her.

The other man, with the mohawk, rolls his eye. "Excuse my rude friend here. I think what he wants to say is would you like Vodka or Tequila?"

"Don't you think a Sister might want to know about some Sheep wandering the Trip Pen?" Spike hair grins, biting another chunk from the chicken.

Mohawk elbows him. "Hey, don't she look kinda like that dumb asshole came around a few months ago?"

Spike hair brightens in realization. "Kinda. Yeah."

Give Kudos: 
0
Average: 5 (1 vote)
silverdrake3's picture

Belinda Anne DeRege

Combat: 
--
Magic: 
--
Influence: 
--
Else: 
--

Linda hates being followed.

Back in middle school, a boy named Keith Alderman got it into his head that he was going to marry her someday. He started stalking her in the halls, asking his buddies to keep tabs on her, always showing up at her locker to ask the strangest stuff, like whether she uses fabric softener. It ended only after her father threatened legal action and, ultimately, Belinda was transferred to an all-girls high school.

Now here she is again, feeling eyes on the back of her neck. She sees a restaurant and, without thinking to ask if her companion is welcome, she makes a detour inside. Besides, it's about time she took in some of the local cuisine anyway.

Give Kudos: 
0
No kudos given yet

Pages

Use of this site implies agreement with the Terms of Use. This is our Privacy Policy. Questions? Contact me.
© Marco Leon 2012 Drupal Theme based on "Decayed" by moldham.