Sunday, April 17, 2011

Load In – 17042011, day 8

We spawned in a back yard.  I didn’t recognize the area, but it didn’t matter much.  We were in residential, so that gave us some space before the inevitable halls and lines that we’d have to get through.  Zoc had picked our load out and now I checked out what I had as we spun around, cleared our perimeter.

The moon was high, giving good visibility.  We were on a cobblestone terrace coming out of the back of someone’s house.  The backyard was marked off with chest high chain link fence, annoying, but useful at the same time.  There were sporadic gardens of small flowers, mostly well kept grass.  Cookie cutter back yards copy and pasted along my left and right.  Ahead of me there the flip of the street, more backyards.  Above us, hydro lines held up by solid wooded posts every few lots.  I made note that the posts had pegs high enough to be climbed, but would give us pause if needed.  Another version of climbing a tree to escape harm. 

Zoc spoke quietly.  The area was fresh, with no contact or devastation.  He was right.  Not a window broken or blood splatter to be seen.  We hopped a few fences, peering down the alleys to the street as we went.  After a few fences we decided to head down to the street, try to get a view of the landscape.

I tapped Zoc’s shoulder in the alley way as I checked out my build.  He had set us up with new accounts, so we had new weapons.  I pulled my guns out, curious to see what my tools were.  I was greeted by the shine of two silver and black pistols, k9’s with extended barrels.  My secondary weapons were black glazed teardrop throwing knives.  I holstered them after finding a comfortable grip.  I had rope around my waist and simple clothing.  Along my belt were clips and odd shaped objects, which had to be this rounds tool of choice. 

It looked like a bat with a flaming mouth, wings folded over itself.  I was debating pulling the hooked tail when Zoc put his hand on it.  He had a bat of his own and pulled the tail, holding it high.  The wings snapped open and its mouth shot off a wave of heat.  Looking up I saw Zoc holding his own bat, the mouth cheerily burning like a festive candle, giving out light where the wings are angled.  I was expecting a grenade, but this bat looked like something else, if less destructive then I would have thought.

From the bats light I could see Zocs build.  He wore simple clothes like me with a hunting rifle slung over his shoulder.  So much for a different build.  I couldn’t see his secondary weapon, but I trusted he’d put it to good use.

The bat’s light died and started climbing up the alley, feet spread apart against the tight walls.  We made to the room and got a look at the neighbourhood beneath us. 

We were sitting on the edge of suburbia.  Across the street were high sheet metal barriers, forcing us back into the honeycomb of houses beneath us.  The street was empty, which was good for us, but bad for whoever had the misfortune to deal with our quarry.  We decided to travel along the rooftops, hopping from one to another as long as we could.  We kept low, standing only when necessary to scout the area.  When we hit the end of the block we had another choice, drop to street level to go through a hole in the metal barrier, leading us who knows where, or stick with the houses.  The street had come to a corner, making a sharp right turn around the house we were sitting on, turning to avoid a park that bordered the housing development.  Across the park were several low lying builds, the closest to a main street this community probably had. 

Our choice would have been far easier, had we seen anyone.  The only movement was caused by the dead wind that scattered through the air.  We’d seen no creatures, no monsters, no mutations, no abominations of any kind up to this point, an experience fairly unprecedented.  I left it to Zoc to choose our path, who decided we should drop to street level and make our way along the park until we got to a road which led us into the town square.  I agreed and we climbed down a drain pipe and scurried along the parks edge, alone, nerves high from the lack of encounters.

               // Elysium and Zoc.  i should make character sheets for them both...

A session in the City - 14042011, day 4

“I don’t know where to start.”

“Start with whatever you remember. Let it flow back to you.  Grasp whatever you can, in whatever disjointed segments you can grasps.”

The light dimmed in the room.

“I’m inside a little shop. Its gourmet food and antipasto and some things.  It’s on a hill with a steep road outside.  The people behind the counters are old, white and grey hair, save for an unsure and timid little girl.  She looks miserable.  I’ve walked through the door and immediately to my left is the food bar.  There are plates of meat and right at the front; grand place is a white rectangular bowl with what looks like meat balls inside of it.  There’s no sign saying what it is, but it sounds delicious.

The room is buzzing with gossip.  I know of the people they’re discussing but I don’t know them personally.  I float through.  They see me and the girl greets me timidly before turning back to conversation.   It’s as if they can’t see me, like I’m slipping in and out.

The shop’s closing.  The employees are looting the place for food.  I’m going on a trip, across a long distance, I strip out their milk container and grab it for my own.  I head for the antipasto bar and find one of the male workers at the counter.  I ask if he's taking the meatball and he says absolutely, he's got it.  I want it as well, but don’t think he’ll take all of it.  He seems too cautious to really gorge while thieving.  He moves aside and I move in with a metal tine tray.  I drop the bottom half of a heavy burger bun into the tray and spoon in the meat ball mix.  The man tells me its meatballs, mushroom and another ingredient I can’t remember. It slips away every time he says it.  I layer it with strips of what looks like bacon in a cross pattern.  More sauce and meatballs, then there's this large hunk of cheese.  The man berates me for mixing flavours but I know better. I crush the cheese down so that I can put the lid on the tin.  I make sure to put in the top of the bun.  As I scrape the meatball dish clean, I use shards of a hard baguette, maybe some Italian bread, which shatters like ice if I push it too hard along the bottom of the clay pan.  My tin pan looks like a quiche, is what he says.  I agree with him after a few minutes.   I turn my attention elsewhere.

It’s earlier.  I’ve walked out the door of the tiny shop; close after the small timid girl.  There’s a slight breeze.  She’s heading down the hill through there subway tunnels, beneath the mountain, all grey concrete and blue metal rising high.  She turns back to me, her back against the wall after she gets to the first landing.  She stammers out why I’m following her.  I move close, breathing slowly, till our lips are nearly touching, I can feel her shiver, so lose to me. My head lowers, my lips drifting along her neck and down to her exposed chest.  I hear her ask what I want.  The smile lights along my lips before kissing her chest.  What I want, I tell her, is you. Her hand comes to mine as I straighten and begin leading her down the stairs. I tell her that I’m going to take her to lunch. We descend the stair case.

Near the end now.  There’s an old man with wild bushy white hair, bicycling up the steep road.  He has blind eyes and an orange reflector vest.  He looks at me through blind eyes and I see his moustache cascade down, drooping as low as his tangle of hair goes.

The beginning’s slipping away.  There was a hotel that I was staying at, flashes now.  There was talk from my parents of a trip at the end of august, of them booking something and me wondering how that’ll fit with going to the cottage in November.  There’s something else.

Earlier, something that I should remember but can't   I’m trying to go back, but I keep falling into the water, out of the boat and through the mists, never grasping anything tangible.  I dint know what to do.  I need to go on.  I’ve missed the message, the big art, the first three acts of it.  Where’d it go? “

“Breathe deep, calm down, don't panic and keep going.”

“Yes, okay. 

I see a hill.  The same hill rotating along.  I see lines of gossip, as if people were dropping fishing lines, weaved around the hill. I see a room in a hotel/.  I’m sitting on the bed and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do or where to go. 

I can’t remember what she looks like. How could I have been so close, had such influence on her, when I can’t remember her name, what she did beyond the glimpse.    Breath.  Breath.  Okay. 

What time is it?  It’s slipping away.  The mists around my boat are getting darker.  I try to push into them; it’s like sticking my arm through a grey wall.  It swirls around my arms, accepting but unyielding.  I can’t see anything beyond the boat and the mist.  The water is placid and doesn’t move, no matter how I sway in the boat.  I can pull back the images I just went through.
Another, I’m going through the gourmet shops kitchen and taking the milk container.  I've no idea why it’s needed now.  The inside of the milk container has a tiny whisk, as well as another metal contraption.  I try to empty them, empty it so I can put another bag of milk in.  I do and cut it, then poor it out into a container.  I don't understand why.  I think I need to cycle through the milk if I’m to take the container, but that doesn’t make sense.  There’s a tiny whisk and metal contraption in each container.  It doesn't make sense.  There’s light coming in through the window as I go through the tile of the floor.  I think the stores closing for good, just as I’m leaving.  Everything’s folding up, as I go. My departure, while welcomed by the townsfolk, signals the end of their world.  They don’t know, or don’t care. 

I try to hang on but it's gone.  Folded up and wire framed, the hill stripped.  I’m back to the memory of the concrete and the young lady.  Pushing against her and sliding down.  The soft kiss and pulling her away.  I can tell she’s overwhelmed through it, that’s why it works.  Someone who had more control over themselves, someone who had been on more dates would have pushed me off, would have had more attention would have known would have reacted differently.  But I was simple.  I said I wanted her.  She fluttered and I took her hand and told her I was taking her to lunch.  She’s followed numbly.  I didn’t look back.  She's blushing now that I see it.  I’m dressed in dark with a mid flair of jacket.  She was still wearing her waitress or attendant uniform.    Then it fades away again, folded into the mist.

It folds out again below me.  The same scene plays out from a different angle, cutting in close as I kiss her chest, seeing her lips quiver above my head; a small gasp slips past her lips, the flush filling her cheeks.  It cuts away to another as I watch us going down the steps.  It plays again and again.  Again.  Again.

 And then it peels away, the wireframe eating the concrete steps, dissolving the sun on the blue metal and glass on the high building above where the steps were, folding it into itself.  It warps and greys and highlights itself, the panels of materials on each surface peeling up and away, unthreading themselves, and then the racks of wires are left until they too peel away, leaving me back in the boat, no place left to reach out to, only the dying, withering memory of that small timid girl and I. 

I’m hunched in the boat.  The hull is empty.  No rushes.  Nothing left.  I want to cry.  I know I lost something lovely, something that if only I could remember it, would make a world of difference would direct me and tell me the answer, where to go. “

“I’m pullin' you out now.  Come back to me slowly; let the boat guide you out of the mist, back into the shop.  The boats docking. You feel a soft bump.  Your wooden bench seat rises up, shifting silently into the counter around you, the boats planks into the walls and shelves of the shop. You’re standing in your body, at my counter, your hands flat on the counter, my hands palm up, while your rest on top.  Breath deep.  Open your eyes and look at me.”

My eyes open slowly, gaze focusing on the wool covered women in front of me.  Her black skin and shinning bright hair made her look like a sheep had always made her look sheep like; beguiling the wolf form she lived.  My feet felt heavy on the floor.  My body sagged back as my muscles relaxed.  I looked around, tilting my head, hearing my neck crack.  My gaze returned to hers, small and black, buried in her face, nearly invisible save for the sharp shine on them.

“I’m back,” I said.

“Yez you ah,” she said, her accent winding around me.  “Did you fine whet you ah lookin' for?”

“I don’t think so.  Thank you anyway, you’ve always been a help,” I said.  She smiles and shakes her head back at me.  I put my hands back into my pockets and turn to the shelves, hoping I’ll see what I need, what I’m missing.  I sigh as I search in vain.  I raise a hand in parting to the old sheep behind the counter and she smiles as I leave a sad look on her face.
It’s raining outside her little shop.  The clouds are low over the dark onyx sky, the ceiling of mist resting on the rooftops of the streets tonight.  The dark hour is nearing its end and I need to get out of the bazaar.  Before it closes.  I dart down a side street and brush shoulders with a face I’ve seen before.  I resist the urge to double take and move through the shady throng filtering out through the exits.  I’ve seen her before at the market, buying food, a rare commodity down here.  She’s one of the Awake, like me, yet we’ve never made introductions.  Not surprising, given the scope of the City. 

She’s tall and gaunt, with a coat wrapped around her.  Beneath the brown folds is a tiny body, wiry and taught, with pale skin.  I’ve made out a few tattoos of her before.  Perhaps we’ll run into each on a more formal occasion soon.  Any Awake who live long enough to get into the flow of the city without becoming a part of it are good to know.  She probably knows Cassandra’s organization.  I’ll have to make inquiries tomorrow.  I pull up my hood and blend into the crowd.  My eyes shine as I spot a curtain lying on a wall nearby, unobtrusive to the crowd that flows by. 

I step close to it and pull it aside long enough to step through the wall into a low ceilinged passage way.  These shortcuts should lead me out of the market and back to the corner of the city near the airplane graveyards, assuming it hasn’t moved again.  I trudge along the passage go through the door at the end.  I’m in a different part of the city, near the tenth district.  It’s not where I wanted to go, but it could’ve been far worse.  I turn down the cobblestone street, lined with dying grass and make my way back to my where I make my home.  It’s been some long nights.

                //Rob never talked much outside of his few confidents, at least here he found a therapist, of sort, even if it is dream siphoning and memory regression.  another tale set in the Mad City of the Undermaze. 

Laura's Morning - 12042011, day 2

I woke up to light blinding me.  I turned my head to the left; hiding under the shade of the steeple that blocked a fraction of the light out my window.  At first I thought it was the sun, but I hadn’t seen the sun in several years. 

I rolled over, away from the light.  I never woke up being blinded.  Usually the cries of the sellers below me pulled me from my light street.  The night previous I had been woken by the screams of some poor thing freshly awake, being pulled apart by Tock’s officer’s in the street outside my window.  Not something I’ve ever wanted to wake up to, but it got me sharp in a hurry.  I was on my feet, locking down my room before the covers had fallen off me.

My clock chimed as the dark hour neared its end.  I pulled my coat across the floor, not bothering to rise from my sprawl.  Fishing out the pack of cigarettes from the inside pocket, I lit up for the first time since I’d been to the market, several weeks past.  I rolled onto my back and exhaled a dark sparking plume of smoke curling in the air above me.  I watched it flicker, opaque and full of slivers of light.  I wondered what was casting such a light from outside my window. 

In the four and a half years I’d been in the city, I’d never seen a sliver of sunlight.  It was against the purpose of this place, I guess.  I breathed in deep and felt my chest heat up with the swirl of memories that came with each drag. 

Pulling myself to a sitting position, I curled around myself as the sheets under which I slept bunched around me, long since abandoning the edges of the bare mattress where I had spent the last week holed up.    Outside my window was an orb of light, high above the rooftops.  Through the maze of pipes and chimneys I could see it hanging above, casting its light down onto the city. 

It wasn’t the sun.  I stared at it without blinking for some time, my eyes never feeling the near-forgotten scorch that the true sun would have brought.  It certainly was a new, entrancing any of the city’s denizens who happened to look up.  It looked like a ball of fire, frozen in place.  There were cresses in the flame, what looked to be hollow spots of dark smoke.  Tilting my head I could make out a demented face, half on its side, made from ash, smoke and flame. 

I heard the clocks chime as the dark hour ended, signalling the beginning of a new day.  I had got maybe an hour of sleep, far too much to be safe.  I flexed my arms and legs as I finished off the cigarette.  My body was thin, skin stretched tight over my slim frame.  What little chest I had was covered by the tattoos which covered my body.  The dragon that rested on my stomach stretched and yawned wordlessly as it flew across my skin, finding its place on my shoulder. 

Pulling myself from my bed, I started cleaning the room.  Striping anything that I may have touched.  I folded the sheet I had slept under and pushed it into my bag.  I pulled on my coat before stripping the bare room.  I dropped the stub of cigarette into a tin that was buried in one of the pockets of my tattered brown coat.  Leaving something like a stub behind was a sure way to lead people after you.  All it would take was a single needle nose bloodhound to catch a scent and then I’d be done for. 

Finishing the room, I closed the door behind me.  The darkness of sleep had done me some good.  My body stretched as it shook off the pains that had plagued me the night before.  I got into the alleys behind the townhouse I was in, slipping past the silent figures that flowed along the street in the early morning. 

The sky was dark as always.  Morning was gauged by the clocks that grew like flowers throughout the city, and the fires in the lamps that shed light on the maze like streets.  Morning meant that the flames were low in their lanterns, barely giving any light as I passed underneath them.  The occasional street lamp gave off its weak cone of light, recovering from the intense light it had spewed forth before the dark hour had hit. 

I turned a corner of the alley and found myself on a street lined with dying grass.  I was nearer to the outskirts of the city than I would have liked. The warrens, the area outside of the city, were a useful place to know, but it was too confusing to me.  The tall, pale grass scared me.  The staircases that wound their way up into the mists that blanketed the ceiling unnerved me.  I looked down the street to my right and saw that a few blocks away, the city died off with stunning abruptness, a Cliffside canyon spilling forth into the fields of the warrens.  I turned my back to the empty sky and walked along the road, back into the heart of the city.
 //seems that the Mad City from DRYH seems to be blending into the Nonaverse's Undermaze, tainted by heavy Echo Bazaar use.  it makes for on interesting setting under the misty ceilings of teh Undermaze. - A

Another Set of days and updates

A few days ago, seven or eight ish, i decided to start writing daily again, as much to keep it going as to add yet another thing to my daily to do's.  Any that have been refined enough for common reading i'll throw on here.  why not, better than keeping them on file to be released ten years down the line.

wonderland complex is falling behind, though I've a new build (0.4) with the ground work of the world done.  i'm working on transfers which is taking a remarkable amount of time.  it stuns me how much effort it takes to make sure where a door opens to opens back up to a similar place.  with the focus I've been putting on WC, Under the Desk  has inevitably suffered.  i haven't done any more sketches, nor pieced together any of the frames more than i had a week past.  

i did finish Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, which was a terrific read.  anyone who's ever worked as a line cook, or has ever entertained thoughts of professional cooking, this is a must-read.  Busy days ahead as the end of April rushes towards us ever faster.

I'll polish and post what's presentable from the past few days in the next few minutes (read: short time ish)

bai bai