Rings of Honor

Rings of Honor
Calendar   FAQ   Search   Memberlist   Usergroups
  Register   Log in
Waking Nights, Dreaming Days
Goto page Previous  1, 2
 
Post new topic   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.   printer-friendly view    Rings of Honor Forum Index -> How to Be a Werewolf
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:11 pm    Post subject: The Girl at the Rock Show, Part 2 Reply with quote

“Now is that anyway to greet me?” She didn't seem to register that she was in any danger, and perhaps she wasn't. Jay's grip on her wrists was loosening with every passing moment until finally, with a rough shove against the chipped-paint wall of the warehouse, he let her go.

“What do you want?”


“A 'hello.' 'I missed you, Astrid.'” She leaned in close to him, hot breath on his cheek. It smelled sweet, of flowers that had recently died and begun to decay. “ 'I love you,' maybe?” Jay jerked back, but the alleyway was narrow, and there wasn't much room for him to backpedal.

“You gotta be kidding me.”


“A girl can dream, right?” She blinked owlishly at him, then suddenly sprung forward and brushed her fingertips against the line of scars on his left cheek. Jay shuddered and involuntarily shut his eyes, before he swiftly reached a hand up to bat hers away.

“Don't.”


“Why not?” Astrid asked, pouting. “You seemed to enjoy it.”

“You did this to me,” Jay said, pointing at the claw marks on his face.

“And you did this to me.” She lifted up the corner of her sweatshirt, exposing part of her abdomen and an ugly purplish surgical scar that looked like it circled around to her back. “Consider it even.”

“Not even close,” Jay replied through clenched teeth. “You knew what I was. You know what I could become. You-you-” His face turned red as he begun to stammer, just as she interrupted him.

You knew what I was. And you still went along with it. And then when something better came along, or when your stupid sense of shame kicked in- whatever it was – you kicked me to the curb. Whatever anger you feel about how things ended is misguided. You brought that on yourself." She took his silence as a cue to continue speaking. “I know how you feel. You hate me. You wish you could kill me, and be rid of me, but you can't. Part of you, somewhere deep inside, still loves me. Or...well, you know.” She bit a fingernail with a sly look on her face.

“That-that's not true,” Jay said in a quiet voice.

“You couldn't lie to me Jay, even if you wanted to. Why are you trying?” Instead of answering the question, he switched back to the original subject.

What are you doing here? Are you following me?”

“That's a bit paranoid, isn't it, Dreamwalker?” Astrid smiled, watching as Jay bristled with the use of his “nickname.”

“Don't say that in public. And you know, it's not paranoia-”


“If someone's out to get you,” she said, finishing his sentence with a roll of her eyes.

“Someone is. The guard, hunters.” He pointed a finger at her, willing it not to shake.

“I'm not out to get you, Jay. Not anymore. I did that out of anger. I have realized the error of my ways. Don't get me wrong, we're still enemies, but you could prove quite valuable to me alive, much more so than if I killed you and what few friends you have left. In fact, I'm here to propose an alliance.” In response, he laughed, just long enough to let her know how ridiculous he thought the idea was.

“No way.”

“Look, Jay. I know you think you're strong enough to resist...that.” She gestured towards the scars, and he seemed to shrink away, seemingly embarrassed by the attention to his wounds. “Tell me...are you still getting treated at the clinic, every full moon?”

After a long pause, Jay swallowed and croaked out a reply. “Y-yes.”

“It's getting harder each time, isn't it? They need a little more anesthesia to knock you out. The silver handcuffs they use, they hurt a little more each time?” Jay nodded, and she pressed further. “How much longer can you resist? She's abandoned you, you know.”

“She has not!” He exploded at Astrid, his voice bouncing off the nearby building walls. Her eyes widened momentarily as she jumped back, then she stepped forward again, composure regained.

“You pray and you pray, and she never comes, never answers, never lifts a single finger to help you. You give her everything and she gives you nothing. She let all this happen to you. What kind of a goddess is that?”

He lowered his head, mumbling his words to the stones beneath his feet. “It's my fault. I sinned-screwed up. I gave in-she's punishing me for what I've done. I-I- deserve it.”

“That's stupid, Jay, and you know it.” Hesitantly, she took a step towards him, then suddenly stepped back, to lean against the warehouse wall with a sigh. “Are you sure you don't want my help?”

“Yes,” he said, turning his back to her and exiting the alley. “I don't make deals with devils.”

“Better the devil you know Jay,” Astrid replied, pausing to put a cigarette between her lips and light it. “Then the one you don't. The offer is still on the table, if you change your mind.”

“I won't.” He pulled the sweatshirt closer against his body as he stepped back onto the sidewalk and headed for the club's entrance.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 10:25 pm    Post subject: Permanent (For Now) Reply with quote

“What can I do for you?” Almost as soon as the bell clattered and rang against the door, the man sitting idly at the tattoo parlor's front desk had looked up from his magazine and greeted Jay. It was anybody's guess what color the walls were originally, or what the desk might have been made of. Every spare inch of each was covered - the desk with stickers from what Jay assumed were local bands, the walls with photographs of completed tattoos. The images on both were similar. A lot of skulls, flames, dragons, and writing in languages other than Common. There was just enough space spared for a simple wall clock, and a frame with a single silver coin inside.

“I'm looking to get a tattoo removed, and get a new one. The sign outside says you do that?” Jay looked back, as if to confirm what he'd seen, though the night beyond the windows didn't show too much to him. The man at the desk rubbed his shaved head, smiling faintly. He had full sleeve tattoos, a set of skulls on each bicep with flames surrounding them.

“I can, but it's gonna be expensive. I'd do a cover-up if I was you. Cheaper, and I can do some cool **** with it.”

“Nah. This one's probably too hard for that.” Jay glanced backwards yet again, as if still uncertain. “You guys do magic removal?”

“Yeah, but it don't feel good. It's like getting your skin ripped off and reattached. And we gotta wait a few days for it to heal before we can tattoo over it.”

“That's cool. Sure I've felt worse, dude.” At Jay's cryptic response, the artist lifted his hands up in the air, then shrugged his shoulders.

“Okay. You got the money?” Jay unsnapped one of the pockets of his cargo pants and pulled out a handful of gold coins, setting them on the counter. They quickly found their way into the till, before the man grunted and gestured for Jay to follow him behind the desk.

“What do we got?” The question prompted Jay to remove his olive military jacket, then the plain black t-shirt beneath, tossing them onto a nearby chair. With his right hand, he pointed at his left shoulder. The words “Santa Cruz” were written in large yellow letters on top of a plain red circle, with “Skateboards” underneath the city name in smaller, black writing. “Santa Cruz where you from?”

“City, yeah. I'm from Earth – a Earth, I guess.”


“Earther, huh? You don't want a reminder of home?”

“Can't go back. And this's just a stupid **** advertisement for a skateboard company.”

“Cool, cool. Well, let's get started.” The tattoo artist slapped his hand against what looked like a repurposed medical examination table, the cushion curved slightly to accommodate the neck and back. Jay laid face first on the pad, which was covered in translucent white paper. Without warning, the man laid his hands on Jay, one on top of the other, as if performing CPR. His shoulder itched at first, then burned like cigarettes put out on his arms. Then it got worse. His fingers started to clutch at the paper, crinkling and ripping it as he tried to focus on something other than the sensation that he was being peeled inside out. He bit his lip until he could taste copper on his tongue, waiting for the pain to end. Instead, it shifted, to thousands of tiny needles dancing across the surface of his skin, stitching it back together. After a minute or two, the sensation ceased, and the man lifted his hands up. Jay was barely able to lift his head up, glancing over as the man rushed for the sink. Apparently, he was not fast - or careful - enough. Droplets of blood and yellow/black ink dotted the concrete floor, while the artist thoroughly scrubbed his hands clean. After drying them with paper towels, he rummaged through a beat-up cabinet above the sink, pulling out boxes of latex gloves, gauze, medical tape, and bandages. He put the blue gloves on and unrolled two pieces of gauze. The first one was cotton ball-sized, and he pressed it against Jay's skin in several spots, blotting the blood that had dripped down his back. Once that was done, the man grabbed the second section of gauze, large enough to cover Jay's shoulder. The tattoo artist placed it over the injured area, then wrapped it in bandages. A few pieces of tape on his shoulder blade and his collarbone, and the process was finished. Without a word, he helped Jay to his feet, helped him put his t-shirt and jacket back on, and walked him to the door, allowing the blue-haired boy to use his arm for support.

“Come back in a week. We'll do the tat then.” Jay nodded limply, then pushed the door open with his right hand. The bell barely jingled as he stepped out.

***

“You got another tattoo?” Max asked, before sneezing. He'd been sick for the last week or so, and the smoky pool hall he, Jay, and Njork were currently in didn't seem to be helping matters. He leaned on his pool cue for support, deliberately ignoring one of the signs on the wall telling him not to do that, while Njork set up the balls for the opening break and Jay alternated sips of beer with puffs on his cigarette.

“I got rid of one, and got another over it.”


“Did it hurt?”


“Nah, not real-” The last syllable was cut off by the loud clack of billiard balls slamming together, and a louder dwarvish curse, as Njork's shot failed to pocket anything. Grumbling under his breath, he offered the cue to Jay, who set his bottle on the table and his smoke in an ashtray before taking the wooden stick.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:59 pm    Post subject: Holiday, Far Away Reply with quote

Cheeky's thrift store
December 2008 R.S.C.


It was a double-edge sword, being in RhyDin during what was traditionally the holiday season on Earth. On the one hand, Christmas didn't quite hold the sway here as it did in Santa Cruz, California. Yes, it was still a popular holiday, and widely celebrated. And yes, most of the stores seemed to decorate and advertise their wares for the season. But there were other holidays, from countless other faiths, that vied for attention as well in the city. The storefront displays were muted and generic, and rarely referenced the religious aspects of Christmas. There were hardly any Nativity scenes or references to the Christ child present (or menorahs and dreidels, for that matter). Of the few businesses that actually played music for shoppers, most of those seemed to play the same music they played all year – generic shopping Muzak that was almost offensive in its utter inoffensiveness. Hardly anybody actually played holiday music, let alone religious holiday music. If there was an unusual amount of cheerfulness in the air and among the people, well, it could easily be seen as a counter-balance to the bitter cold weather in the city.

The flip side, though, was that in a season that centered on bringing together family and friends, Jay had none of the former and few of the latter present in the city. It worked to his advantage when he picked up shifts from vacationing co-workers, both because of the extra money and because fewer people seemed to be in the clinic currently. It made less work for him, and gave him more time to think. Unfortunately, most of his thoughts recently revolved around home. His old home. Friends he'd left long ago, but never forgotten. The family he'd abandoned, and who'd abandoned him. The thoughts haunted him worse on his days off, which was why he was currently busying himself with rifling through a clothing rack full of olive green military shirts. It was strangely reminiscent of similar clothes he'd seen at home, only this one had an unrecognizable flag patch on the shoulders (it looked like a black sun on a red background) and name patches with unreadable runes just over the heart. While he was looking, a lanky white-blonde man stepped up behind him, hands folded behind his back.

“Are you finding everything okay today?” Jay nearly jumped out of his skin, wheeling around to face the person who had just spoken to him.

“Uh, yeah. Yeah.”

“Sorry 'bout that. Christmas shopping?” The man's smile was goofy, a little off-kilter. It almost looked plastered or painted onto his face. It was slightly unnerving.

“Kinda. Buying stuff for myself,” Jay fidgeted a little in place, and the man seemed to get the message almost instantly.

“Okay. If you need anything, just ask. Name's Cheeky.” He held a hand out to Jay, but when the blue-haired kid extended his own to Cheeky, the thin man just slapped it playfully and laughed, before bounding off elsewhere in the store. Once Jay was confident the owner was a good distance away from him, he started to browse again.

As far as organization systems went, Cheeky's was a disaster. Next to that rack of shirts was an old Coca-Cola bin (the sight of which struck Jay with a wave of nostalgia and homesickness) filled with what looked like garish multi-colored Mardi Gras beads, a collection of full-body outfits ranging from a beekeeper's garb to HAZMAT suit to something that looked way too much like a Star Wars flightsuit for comfort, and a bookcase filled with similarly sized dusty old paperbacks with (what he assumed were) the titles written on the spines in some sort of Cyrillic lettering. He pulled one out to peruse it, and immediately put it back. The picture on the cover, with a pair of what looked like anthropomorphic cheetahs kissing each other in a near-perfect parody of traditional Earth romance novel covers, had him both snickering and looking elsewhere quickly. It was much the same story elsewhere in the store. Shelves packed full of items with little regard for logical convention. A pair of bicycles hung precariously from the ceiling, strung up by some nearly invisible wire. Stacks of old VCRs, televisions, computer monitors, and microwaves sat on a white folding table that was bowing and straining with the weight. Nearby that, on the ground underneath the table, sat several cardboard boxes. Curious, Jay walked over to those and knelt carefully to examine them.

On the left hand side were boxes filled with blank VHS tapes and rolls of Polaroid film. On the right side were various cameras and camcorders, big, bulky, and mostly matte black in color, with an occasional one in brown or silver. They all looked about the same to him, except for one. It was gunmetal grey, and a little smaller than the rest, although still much bigger than the digital recorders and cameras he was used to back home. Most of the back half seemed to be taken up by the slot for tapes, while the front contained the lens, microphone, and a swing-out grip to hold it by. The whole design screamed “80s” to Jay, but for some reason, it brought a smile to his face. He picked it up, then dug through one of the boxes on the left, searching for compatible tapes. He grabbed as many as he could balance in one hand – four – and headed for the check-out counter. Cheeky was up there tapping away at an old cash register like it was a piano, listening to the clack of the white enameled buttons.

“Nice one, dude,” Cheeky said, as he looked at the price tag for the camcorder and the tapes. The total came up on the white numbers in the register's display, and Jay reached into his pocket to pull out silvers and coppers to cover the cost. When he did so, Cheeky popped open the register, the bell ringing brightly as he did so. He grabbed a paper bag and placed Jay's purchases in it. “Have a good day. Don't get too naughty with that.”

“I'll, uh, do my best. Thanks, dude.” Jay didn't catch Cheeky's response as he rapidly exited the store, clutching his purchase. Jay peeked into the bag, almost as if uncertain it would still be there when he did, and smiled to himself. “Merry Christmas, dude.” He unlocked the bike he had chained up to a nearby street lamp post, threw the chain over his shoulder, and started pedaling carefully down the sidewalk with his bundle.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:23 pm    Post subject: Silent Night Reply with quote

December 31, 2008/January 1, 2009 R.S.C.
Redmond Clinic


The head doctor for the evening had given Jay a pager and told him he could wait in the lobby, watch some TV, read a book, or do whatever he wanted to do with the enormous amount of downtime he was bound to have this evening. The clinic was open, of course, but few people made their way to it on the holidays. There were many other hospitals and healers in the city, some of which were better equipped to handle medical emergencies than Redmond. Those who might have been here for various other procedures, minor injuries, and less life-threatening ailments and illnesses either toughed it out at home or paid dearly for a nurse to come by and take care of them. Most of the beds were unoccupied, and most of the rooms had been thoroughly cleaned earlier in the evening, and didn't need to be spruced up again. So Jay busied himself with trying to get the tiny television hanging in the lobby to work.

Stupid *** WestEnd,” Jay grumbled, as he stood on a forest-green, wooden-armed chair and fiddled with a pair of rabbit ears covered in aluminum foil for extra conductivity. Most of the time, the waiting room TV was used to play children's movies to soothe kids who might otherwise be nervous about being in a hospital, but there probably wouldn't be any young ones around tonight. Television options in RhyDin, though, were rather limited. There wasn't any satellite TV or cable in the city, to the best of Jay's knowledge, and if the snow patterns that seemed to come up on just about every channel were any indication, there wasn't any broadcast TV either. After a few minutes of fruitless effort, he gave up, pressing the large power button to shut the television off. It stayed on, the hiss of static like the roar of the ocean in his ears. He pressed it again. Nothing. Again. Still on. Finally, he made a fist, pounding on the button over and over again until finally, mercifully, it turned off with a final flash of white.

It was pointless, but he began to wander the corridors again, peering in each of the rooms as he passed to check and see if anything was needed. Nothing was. Most of the rooms were expectedly empty, white sheets and bedspreads perfectly made and tucked, dressers and desks barren of personal effects, flowers, balloons, and the other accouterments of the sick and injured. In the occupied rooms, nearly everyone was sleeping, their intermittent snores mixed with the beeps of monitors, the clicks of ventilators, and the drips of IV machines. The sounds were louder than he remembered, not covered up as they normally were by pages over the intercom system, conversations between doctors and nurses, the rattle of wheelchairs and gurneys transporting patients down the halls. With fewer people and the usual array of perfumes, colognes, sweat, and other odors they brought into the hospital, the smell of disinfectant and cleaning solvents were more noticeable, more astringent on Jay's nostrils. Only the glare of white fluorescent lights on white tiles and pale blue walls seemed to stay the same. Otherwise, it felt like an entirely different building that evening.

He completed his circuit and returned to the lobby, hands fidgeting nervously with the lighter in his pocket. He wanted to smoke, but he couldn't do so inside for several reasons, and the weather outside was frightfully cold, especially for a California boy used to balmier west coast winters. His coat was in a locker on the opposite side of the building, and he really didn't feel like walking all the way over there again. Besides, Max and Njork weren't there to join him on a break. Njork was spending the New Year's at home with his girlfriend in their apartment that bordered the Marketplace and Seaside - a girlfriend that had been unknown to Jay until Max had recently made a series of ribald and tasteless jokes about her hirsuteness that had nearly brought Max and Njork to blows. Max, meanwhile, was up in Jenli with his family, although Jay couldn't figure out why in the world his friend would want to go somewhere that was bound to be colder than even RhyDin was. Just the thought of Mount Yasuo made him shiver.

So there he was again, back in the waiting room, with only an empty admissions desk, chairs, malfunctioning television, and back issues of children's magazines to keep him company. He picked one up and flipped through it, the bright colorful drawings that accompanied most of the articles drawing more of his attention than the articles themselves. Towards the back, there was a section where kids had submitted their own artwork, crayon and watercolor and colored pencil sketches of cottages, friends and family members, creatures that in any other place would be myth but were reality here. Unicorns, dragons, fairies. He studied the pictures, the unfamiliar names like Durrid, Manwameldiel, and Xochitl, the cities and towns he had never seen nor heard of. He then tossed the periodical aside and didn't bother to pick it up off the floor when it slipped off of the table. I still don't belong here... He started to kick at the downed magazine in frustration, but stopped his attack when his eyes caught the clock. 12:00 a.m. It was enough to make him smile for a second, until he thought about it. WestEnd probably messed that clock up. I don't even know if it's slow or fast. For a minute or two, he stood there gaping at the hour and minute hands of the clock face, willing them to reveal their secrets. Finally, though, his attempted manipulation of time was cut short by a raspy female voice on the intercom ordering him to a patient's room for clean-up. He sighed, but he quickly left the lobby, leaving it completely devoid of life.
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:36 pm    Post subject: So Close and Yet So Far Reply with quote

It was here. Not this location specifically, but somewhere out there. In the tangled web of fever dreams, children's nightmares, the fantasies of desperate men and women, one of Jay's deepest desires was manifest in the sleep of another. He'd stumbled upon this dreamer months ago, on one of his trips to help that elvish cleric control her own dreams. It had taken every bit of his willpower not to stay there and miss his appointment. Since then, every time he'd tried to find them, he'd failed. The dream was dead. The dream had shifted beyond his control.

Tonight, though, it was alive and well, as he took one of his infrequent strolls through the dreamscape. It didn't matter which dreams he traveled through, he could feel this one. A familiar longing, haunting, an itch on his arm where the tattooed compass was etched in his skin. He glanced down to his left forearm, watching the red needle oscillate back and forth across his skin. He squinted a bit, focusing, and the needle settled on a cardinal direction. He laughed to himself, as he noted the direction.
Go west, young man. He blinked a few times, trying to adjust to the near absence of light in the cavern that comprised the dream he was currently in, and searched for an appropriate exit. Half by sight, half by feeling the cold, smooth stone of the walls, he made his way towards a pinprick of light that was growing larger and larger, brighter and brighter as he came closer to it. By the time he'd made it to the cave's entrance, he was nearly blinded, and had to shade his eyes with his hand. Even so, he couldn't see beyond the sheer whiteness. Here goes... He took one step, then another into the light, and it slowly burned off and dissipated like fog, leaving him with a clear view.

He'd stepped onto a paved cul-de-sac in a sleepy neighborhood that would've fit equally well in a suburb or a city. The houses were big but not quite mansion-sized, with large, lush green front yards and plenty of trees lined up next to the curb. Also lined up alongside the curb were several cars that appeared quite out of place in this well-to-do area: a pair of wood-paneled station wagons, a Ford Escort with a white front half and pale blue back, a large cargo van with countless dents, graffiti tags, and an horribly misguided attempt at a fantasy-style dragon (that was more cartoonish than it was menacing) that was mostly covered by spray paint. The air was warm and summery, smelling faintly of freshly mown grass, flowers that had just bloomed, and fertilizer. At once, it seemed full of life and yet curiously devoid of it: it was quite clear that people lived here, but there was no one outside at that moment. No gardeners pulling weeds or planting bulbs, no children riding bicycles on the sidewalk or playing catch in the front yards, nobody entering or leaving the houses, nobody arriving or departing in cars. The only sound Jay could hear was a dull, patterned thump, seemingly coming from the home at the end of the street, a slightly larger building in a Victorian style, with off-white siding and shutters on the windows. With a thought, he changed his clothes and hair style to something less recognizable: black hair, buzz cut short, with baggy khaki shorts and a plain grey t-shirt. That done, he headed for the source of the noise.

As he drew closer, the sound coalesced into something instantly recognizable: music. Not just any kind of music, though. Punk. The pounding drums, the slashing guitars, the bellowed vocals. Beneath the music was another sound he could pinpoint at once: the dull roll of polyurethane wheels on concrete. Skateboarding, probably in an emptied out pool. The sidewalk gave way to a gently sloping lawn, which Jay walked up until he was almost at the porch steps. He took a quick left, going around the side of the house, until he ran into an 8-foot wooden security fence, complete with a locked door. He shuffled to the left, in the space between the house with the empty pool and the neighboring one, until he found a chink in the fence's armor. A missing plank, or half a plank anyways, smashed and splintered where the missing piece once was. It gave him just enough of a view inside the back yard.

Near the sliding glass door, on a large wooden picnic table with an umbrella in the center, sat a boombox, two large speakers, and a subwoofer. One of the skateboarders was standing near it, smoking a cigarette and adjusting one of his elbow pads, all the while taking a ribbing from the others for wearing it. Another skater crested over the pool's edge, quickly stepping off his board and reaching into a nearby cooler to pull out a drink. This close, even with the volume turned up, Jay could understand the lyrics. Or at least, understand enough of them to realize there was something not quite right about them. If he was not mistaken, it was clearly the Dead Kennedys, but not any Dead Kennedys song he'd ever heard. He peered through the fence, studying the skateboarders more intently. They all looked human, but the sodas they were drinking were neither Coca-Cola nor Pepsi. The graphics on their skateboards didn't belong to any companies he had ever heard of, and the skaters represented on their decks weren't the Tony Hawks, the Ryan Schecklers, the Stevie Williams of his world.
Dammit, it's an alternate Earth. Or something like that. Without thinking, he banged his fist against the wood. As soon as he'd done it, he cursed, before doubling back to the gate. He heard some of the boys rushing over to the door, but Jay got there first, and with another blinding rush of light, he opened it. A pair of surprised faces confronted him briefly, before he was swallowed by white.
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:37 pm    Post subject: Hide and Seek, Part 1: Names and Faces Reply with quote

January 15, 2009
RhyDin Open Shelter, Dockside


“Name?”

“Uh... Do you really need one?” The long pause between the question asked by the clipboard-holding volunteer and Jay's response brought a sigh to the other man's lips. Jay felt someone bump into his backpack, but he did his best not to turn around and glare at the offender, or the rest of the people in the line behind him. They were all in the same boat here.

“Well, we can't just call 'hey, you!' if we've got a spot for you. So give me a name. I don't care if it's yours or not.” The pudgy man shifted in place, then reached a finger through the belt loop of his jeans to hike them up.

“Tony Hawk.” Under any other circumstance, Jay might've smiled, but the cold weather, fatigue, and the fact that his attempt at a joke was completely lost on the shelter volunteer left him grimacing instead.

“Alright Tony, you can wait over there.” He pointed at a group of shabbily dressed men standing in place by the front desk, manned by a frazzled, grey-haired woman. There was a row of chairs there with more men sitting in them, and to the right of the door, another packed bench.

“I don't get a seat?” Jay asked, prompting another sigh and roll of the volunteer's eyes.

“No. Those are reserved.”

“Yeah? What for?”

“Those guys got in, but there aren't any rooms available. They get a chair until a room frees up.”

“Seriously?” The backpack on Jay's shoulders suddenly seemed to feel twice as heavy.

“Yes. Rooms are given to women, children, and families first. Then them.” The man tipped his clipboard at the bench, where a bum in a ragged green overcoat was trying his best to sleep sitting up. Jay wrinkled his nose, as a decidedly unsavory odor wafted over from the poor soul.

“How long do they get them?”

“Until a room opens up, or until they get up. Once you get up, it goes to the next person in line.”

“You-you gotta be kidding me.”

“I'm afraid not,” the man said, shaking his head with a sad look. “I wouldn't hold my breath for a room.”

Jay glanced over his shoulder, at the others in line. Some of them had threadbare coats, if they were lucky enough to have coats at all. Few had hats, gloves, or scarves, and their cheeks, ears, and fingers were all the redder for it. Five or six men back, there was a family of elves, husband, wife, and two daughters, faces even more pinched and thin than usual, their dull violet eyes staring straight ahead, focused on nothing. That vacant expression was on many of the faces of those behind him. The displaced longshoremen who couldn't find a job, the hopeless alcoholics who could barely stand upright, and the old grey-bearded men who had spent a lifetime in these lines and places all wore it. The look knew no race. It knew no gender. It knew no age. It clung to them like smoke, like the puffs of white that accompanied each exhalation they took, threatening to slowly suffocate them.

“Nevermind, dude.” Jay took a step to his side, leaving the line, and clapped his ungloved hands together twice to try and regain some feeling in them. After that, he jammed them in the pockets of his olive jacket, trying to warm them up. He watched the line trudge three steps forward in unison, as if bound together by chains. Without any further hesitation, he walked away from the two story cinder-block building and towards the West End.

It was time to take refuge in dreams.
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:37 pm    Post subject: Hide and Seek: Prologue Reply with quote

Earlier...

If it hadn't been for the injuries Jay had suffered, he probably wouldn't have remembered as much as he had of the beating he had been dealt by the pair of hunters. They'd sprung upon the room he had stayed at many times previously, while knocked out by anesthesia in hopes of keeping the beast at bay, and revived him prematurely. They wanted to know if he had turned yet, which doctors had been taking care of him since he'd started visiting Redmond Clinic, where the blood samples and notes on the research were. Still partially drugged, he had muttered nonsense about skateboarding brands, kickflips, and graffiti artists, and they had started pummeling him with their fists in return. The anesthetic hadn't fully worn off, though, so while he was awake and defenseless, cuffed to the bed with a silver set of handcuffs that chafed his wrist and ankle, he felt only a fraction of the pain he should have. It wasn't until hours later, after security had finally chased off the hunters, after the healers had worked their magic on his busted nose and dislocated jaw, that the pain fully hit him.

With the pain came clarity. The clinic was never big on security. They had never really needed it. Sure, they dealt with their fair share of victims of the city's violence, but most of the time it was quiet, the emergencies dealing less with man's inhumanity to man and more with man's inability to stay balanced in a tree while climbing it. Only recently had they bothered hiring a second security guard (and thank goodness they'd both been working that night). Still, two barely trained guards would be no match for the resources that the hunters could deploy, if they wanted to get to him. That night in the clinic was proof of that.

More important, though, was the insinuation the hunters made, or the one that he thought they had made anyways. Perhaps Jay had been remiss in not asking more questions of the doctors treating him. The hunters seemed to think they were doing more than just trying to find a cure for him, though what else they might be doing with his bloodwork was beyond him. Whatever it was, they seemed to think it was bad. Bad enough that they were willing to turn his face to hamburger to get information on it.

Jay was in trouble, and he knew it. Neither friends nor family nor the city guard could get him out of this mess. If he stayed still, he'd be easy pickings for the hunters. And if the hunters were right, and he was just a guinea pig for some doctors' sick experiments, then sticking around the clinic would be doubly bad. His best chance at avoiding unwanted attention was to go underground.

After a day spent in another bland and whitewashed room, they finally let him go home. He was even quieter than usual as he walked down the halls in oversized, baggy scrubs he'd borrowed from an off-duty orderly. He went to his locker, silently thanking himself for only keeping his coat and changes of clothes there. He glanced over at the lockers of his two closest friends, Max and Njork, and contemplated leaving them a brief note, but decided even a message with the barest of details would be too much of a clue. It was better just to disappear.

Jay quickly changed out of the ill-fitting scrubs and into a more comfortable pair of jeans, white t-shirt, and navy hooded sweatshirt. He pulled the hood on tight over his head, before shrugging into the olive green military jacket, hands digging deep into the pockets in anticipation of the brutal cold awaiting him outside. He lifted one hand out of his pocket to wave to the woman manning the front desk, before the sliding doors opened and a blast of brisk wind forced his hand back into the warmer front pouch. He imagined that he was walking into white, a blinding blizzard of snow or a thick fog that would quickly swallow him up. It was bright and sunny outside, though, and he knew that she would be able to see him walking away until he turned the corner.
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:40 pm    Post subject: Hide and Seek, Part 2: Breaking and Entering Reply with quote

“Broken glass, broke and hungry
Broken hearts and broken bones
This is where we used to live”
(Barenaked Ladies, “The Old Apartment”)


Later...
Econ-Omni Apartments


The door to Jay's apartment swung open with a burst of white light, immediately accompanied by the familiar splitting headache that always accompanied his dream travel. He pressed the fingers of his left hand to his temple, eyes squeezed shut with the pain, while his right hand pushed against the wall near the doorway for support. The nausea bubbled and seemed to rise from the pit of his stomach up his digestive tract, until he was sure he was going to vomit from the migraine. Then, as quickly as it arrived, it passed. As surprised by the physical reprieve as he was thankful, it took him a minute or two to risk opening his eyes, lest even the sunlight through the windows fall harshly on vision made photo-sensitive by his ailment.

The apartment was empty. The bed, dresser, nightstand, even the ratty couch he'd rescued from a dumpster with the help of Max and Njork were all gone. Gone, with everything inside them. Jay's alarm clock, his video camera, his clothing, a duffel bag with workout clothes and one of his baseball bats, an uncashed paycheck and pay stubs, and notes from work. The berber carpet, complete with red stains that could've been anything from blood to wine to spaghetti sauce, now had a thin layer of dust, dirt, and grime coating it. There hadn't been anything in here for a while. Whoever had taken his things had done so quickly, and hadn't bothered to clean up much. They'd thrown out the food he'd left out a few days back, but the overly sweet, cloying scent of rotten fruit remained in the air, even if his fruit bowl (and the accompanying apples and bananas) was M.I.A.

Jay instinctively reached into his pocket for a cigarette and his lighter, and cursed under his breath when neither was present. Add that to the list of things they took. My last pack and back-up lighter. He was about to walk deeper into his apartment, to see if they'd left anything behind in the bathroom, when he heard footsteps and indistinct conversation through the thin walls. He froze mid-step. Nothing left here. Time to see if they got my storage locker yet. He then sprinted across the floor, grabbing the door to his bathroom and flinging it open to a wall of white light. He thought he could hear the front door opening behind him, but whatever sound he'd heard quickly faded away as he vanished from sight.
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:43 pm    Post subject: Hide and Seek, Part 3: Risk and Reward Reply with quote

April 9, 2009 R.S.C.

Stupid, stupid, stupid! Jay berated himself as he sat on top of a ratty green sleeping bag in the drafty storage locker that doubled as his sleeping spot when he couldn't get a room at a shelter (which ended up being about half the time). Also, he used it on the nights when the moon was full. Can't put others at risk. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the yellow-orange prescription bottle with a rattle. There was no white label wrapped around the cylinder; Jay knew what the pills were by sight. White, numbers on one side, “AMB 10” on the other. Ambien. Apparently they'd found a way to import it here. He twisted the cap, tapped out twice the recommended dosage into his hand, and swallowed them both without water, before recapping the bottle.

So far, he had done a good job staying out of the public eye. Not a great job, but a good one. There had been weak moments, when he'd stopped by the Inn, had awkward conversations with people he'd once known, left as fast as he possibly could. He'd tried his hand at the duels a time or two, enjoying the way the weight of the world seemed to lift off his shoulders when he stepped into the ring. He'd cringed, inwardly and outwardly, every time he'd left those buildings, expecting the guard, the hunters, the debt collectors, somebody to have tracked him down. Each time, though, Jay had managed to return to a shelter, or his storage locker, without incident.

Perhaps it had lowered his guard, the ease with which he had sunk out of sight, out of mind for those who had been looking for him. It was easy enough to do that in RhyDin, and Jay guessed that was part of the charm for some people. Dropping out was old hat for Jay, and yet...

He'd been foolish. He'd been in the Arena when the Overlord, Tormay, had announced he had free slots in his personal tournament for the Overlord's Grant. He should've just declined, watched the others fight, and slinked off into the night. But he had to get his hopes up. He had to throw his hat in the ring, even after getting knocked around by a gorgeous billy-club wielding woman. He had to somehow muster the strength to make it through three more duels, win two of them, and earn the grant. And he accepted it! He could've easily said “Thanks, but no thanks.” But he didn't.

And he wouldn't. For some reason, it had given him hope, even as it simultaneously increased the odds of him being discovered. The chance of defeat was high, and the risk he would put himself in by even participating higher still. They would all know where he was. It would just be a matter of who got to him first, and what they wanted. But if he won...he'd have a home. He'd have recognition. And maybe, just maybe, it would keep everybody off of his back for a while.

The thoughts quickly faded out of his head, as the pills worked their way through his system. He didn't even have time to get under the covers before his eyes drooped close and stayed shut. He didn't notice the draftiness of his makeshift home, and didn't care about the discomfort that arose from using his arm as a pillow and concrete as a bedspring beneath his sleeping bag. He was lost to a sleep that was comforting in its complete and utter darkness.
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Capistrano
Wolf Like Me
Proven Adventurer
Proven Adventurer


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 184

Location: A small apartment near the University of Northeast RhyDin or Clovely
6,135 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:47 pm    Post subject: Hide and Seek, Part 4: Caught and Bound Reply with quote

April 25, 2009 RSC
Southern Glen


As soon as Jay lost his challenge against Teagan, he knew that it was only a matter of before he'd have to pay the piper. And I just bought this tent in time for spring, he thought to himself, with a grim, tight-lipped smile. He was sitting in that tent currently, located in one of the flatter, more remote parts of the Southern Glen, although it was still within easy walking range of one of the ponds there. His legs were crossed in the lotus position, and after a few deep breaths, he began meditating, praying, beseeching his goddess for a miracle, for a way out and an end to the running. She was silent.

The Glen, however, was not. Jay could hear the slow, methodical footsteps coming from some distance. He unfolded his legs and reached over to his side, It was then that he heard the snicking of cross bow bolts and bullet clips. He stiffened, then tried to stay perfectly still.

“Jay Capistrano, we know you're there,” a deep voice boomed from the darkness, bouncing off the nearby trees. “We have silver bolts and bullets, if you try anything funny.”

“Are you gonna kill me?” Jay shouted back, his voice rasping at the end as he tried to ensure he was heard, even from inside the tent.

“If you resist, yes.” Jay could hear the footsteps closing in. There would be only a few moments before the choice would be taken away from him. Fight, flight, or surrender? A split-second later, he made his choice. A silent prayer in his head, he reached for the zipper and flung it open, hoping to see the familiar flash of white that would carry him to the world of dreams. Instead, he fell face first out of the tent, right in front of the booted feet of a city guardsman. He grabbed Jay by the scruff of his shirt and dragged the rest of his body out of the tent, tossing him to the ground before kneeling on his back. The guard made several gestures in a circle, and three other men went from surrounding the tent to ransacking it, pulling forth Jay's meager possessions and chucking them into the dirt.

“You're under arrest for failure to pay debts and deliberate evasion of debt payment.” The guard pulled Jay's arms back behind his back, so he could cuff them. It didn't take to long for his hands to starting itching. Silver.

“Did you really need to do that?”

“You're from Earth, aren't you?”

“Well, yeah, but-”

“Then you should know the drill,” the guard interrupted. “Anything you say, blah blah blah. Got it?” The guard hauled Jay up to his feet, where he could see his clothing, a small sack of coins, and his crowbar strewn about. “Looks like we're adding possession of a weapon to the charges.”

“What? That's a tool, dude!”

“Not according to the people who watched your last duel. You used it as a weapon.”

“But I wasn't-” Jay's retort was cut off by a heavy blow to the side of his face.

“You'll talk when we ask.” One of the other guards, carrying a large knapsack, was folding and gathering up Jay's things and placing them inside that backpack. They took one last moment to look around Jay's camp site before, with a rough shove to his back, they began walking out of the Glen.

“We found this key among his things,” the guard with the knapsack said, holding it up to the moonlight for the guard leading Jay to see. “Think it goes to a storage unit.”

“We'll check on that later. Let's get him back to the station first.”

Wary of being struck again for disobedience, Jay stayed silent as the others chatted casually about their girlfriends, their families, their wives, city guard politics, and politics in general. Head down the entire march back to the city, Jay's last view before he was processed and thrown in a cell was the city's sidewalks and cobblestones, and the simple stone pillars of the guard station he was led into. Days later, he could still hear the deafening sound of the steel cell doors slamming shut, as they compressed his world to a barred up window just over his head, a sink, a toilet, and a bunk anchored to the wall.
_________________
The future lies on some horizon
So many times I had to say farewell
I know it turns out fine, following the exit sign
At least that's what I tell myself
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.   printer-friendly view    Rings of Honor Forum Index -> How to Be a Werewolf All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Goto page Previous  1, 2
Page 2 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum