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Jealous Rage

A place where you can, in essence, roleplay a character from one of your existing/future stories. The aim is to develop said character by exposing them to situations they haven't yet encountered in the story they come from.

The setting is determined by whoever posts first. Please stick to the rules of the universe they set. Don't be a dick with other people's characters. If you act like an asshole, I will kick you out. Have fun.

8/22/2012 . Edited 8/22/2012 #1
Nesasio

Anton woke up in a diner. He blinked in the dingy white light from the wobbly ceiling fan a few booths down and took in the sights and smells of a truck-stop greasy spoon. He was used to his visions taking him strange places but he didn't remember eating any truckers before. Too big, too difficult. Uninteresting lives. Not worth it.

He scrubbed his hands over his face and looked around.

A bored-looking old man eyed him up from behind the counter and asked, "So, Sleeping Beauty, you gonna order anything or just gonna take up space for a while longer?"

Mumbling something he hoped sounded like an apology, Anton clambered off the vinyl-upholstered seat and out the door. Outside, a cold night breeze brought the overpowering smell of diesel and tired humans. All in all, not a bad place, he thought as he strolled out from the well-lit gas pumps to the empty land edging the parking lot. Lots of sky, rolling grass. Middle of fucking nowhere, admittedly, but with a full belly and a clear head it was hard to find that problematic.

Leaning against a chainlink fence, Anton dug in his pockets to see if he'd managed to hold onto anything useful this time around. He found his wallet with $50.73 and a set of keys on a black rabbit's foot keychain. Huh, maybe he had eaten a trucker. He'd have to take a look around. Later.

8/22/2012 #2
Jealous Rage

The trucker lets me off a stop somewhere between New York and Los Angeles. I really can't be more specific than that; I've been dead to the world for a good nine, ten hours. My fucking head is pounding and I feel like I could eat a horse. Maybe an elephant. I'm really fucking hungry, is what I'm getting at. Any other time, I'm sure the greasy ass food in this shitty little truck stop would make my stomach turn, but right now, it smells like a feast fit for a king. A starving king.

I load up on the special, which turns out to be thin tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches with almost no cheese in them, and the most watered down coffee I've ever tasted. It's shit, but like I said, starving. I scarf down all I can handle, slap a twenty on the counter, and head outside for some fresh air.

Under the bright lights that illuminate the gas pumps, it's impossible to miss how active the place is. It surprises me, to be honest. There's nothing else around, as far as the eye can see. No lights from nearby cities or anything. Which I guess makes the activity thing make sense, now that I think about it. If this really is the only pit stop in the middle of fucking nowhere, of course everybody is coming through here. Everybody needs food and gas eventually. Just wish they'd all waited 'til tomorrow to show up. The grinding gears and air brakes from all the trucks is wreaking havoc on my aching head. When some asshole in an over-sized Kenworth rolls past me and hits his horn, I have to stop myself from leaping through his windshield and planting a foot into his ugly mug.

To put some space between me and Horn-blower McFuckhead, I cross the parking lot and head over toward a chain-link fence that surrounds the property. Away from the bright lights and dickish people, I immediately start feeling better.

Just as I'm about to lean against the fence, I catch a little movement out of the corner of my eye. Turning to my right, I spot the faint outline of another person. They're about ten yards away from me, leaning against the fence. It's hard to be sure in the dark, but it looks like they've got something in their hand.

I'm bored and after spending a day in a truck with a fat hillbilly who could only speak in grunts, I could use some conversation. "Hey," I say. Their head snaps up. "You got any cigarettes?"

8/22/2012 #3
Nesasio

((Hokay, changing tense, but I'm staying in third person. It works. Ish.))

Anton shakes his head and then remembers how dark it must be for this guy. He sees better than humans in the dark and he's pretty sure this guy's a human. Sidling over to a polite but safe distance, Anton shakes his head again. "Just some keys. Might have some in the truck but I don't remember." Safe answer, yeah. He nods, pleased with himself. It's a good night.

The stranger eyes him up as Anton moves out of the shadows and Anton does the same. The guy looks and smells more or less human. Annoyed, rumpled, and faintly tomato-y but not outwardly hostile. He could do worse for company wherever the hell they are. Maybe this guy would know. "So what brings you out here?" he asks. Safe question. Conversation starter. Anton leans against the fence, looks up at the sky, and waits for an answer.

8/22/2012 #4
Jealous Rage

Vampire. My magic makes the connection the second he steps toward me.

He steps closer and I size him up. He's small; not freakishly so, but I've got him by a good seven or eight inches and about ninety pounds. That doesn't mean much where vamps are concerned, but I'm not exactly Joe Six-pack myself. Probably couldn't overpower him, should he decide a snack is in order, but I'd put up one Hell of a fight.

He takes another step and pauses. He's casual, no visual tension or any indication he's about to leap.

So I play it cool. "I killed a guy in Seattle. Several guys actually." He stiffens and I smile. "Things didn't go quite like I'd planned and I had to skip town real quick. Caught a ride with a trucker and here I am." I cock my head. "How about yourself?"

8/22/2012 #5
Nesasio

Anton casts a sidelong look at the guy again thinking maybe he underestimated him. Big, capable, and now a bit wary. But he's human and messing with him and Anton isn't hungry.

Time to make conversation... What to say to a killer standing a few feet away? How did it go? What's your method?

Was there a question he should be answering? 'How about yourself?' Right. How about Anton?

Anton's memory remains spotty. There's a distant memory of weed and a scuffle somewhere in Nebraska but where the hell is he now? He shrugs; the rabbit foot keychain jingles in his pocket with the movement and he pulls it out, staring at it.

Opening his senses up to the memory of the furry thing in his hand, he winds back to his pocket and then an ignition where rabbit's foot-memory Anton sings country off-key as they barrel down the highway. Further back is a brief fight and beyond that a large potato-chip-eating trucker tosses the keys as he whistles his way toward the Peterbilt. The keychain echoes with one last salt-and-grease toss before Anton's hands catch it. No blood, though.

He pulls out of the vision and puts the keys back in his pocket. So he didn't eat a trucker. Just stole a truck. Anton ponders. Did he eat a stoner and go on a joyride? Maybe, but not a good story to keep a murderer from ending what's left of his good night.

"Same," he says instead. "What a night."

8/22/2012 #6
Jealous Rage

"What a night indeed." Clearly the vampire isn't biting—pun absolutely intended.

There's a moment of silence while we both stand there, looking up at the stars. I reach into my pocket and pull out the last of my battered cigarettes. I toss the empty package over the fence, light up, and inhale deeply. The vampire is watching me; I can feel his eyes on the side of my face. But I don't care. For the first time since I left Seattle, I feel good. My headache is pretty well gone, I'm not starving, and for the moment, I still have a cigarette left to smoke. Life is good.

Eventually, the silence starts to bug me. I turn back toward the vampire and extend my hand. "Jon," I say. "Jon Moore."

8/23/2012 #7
Jealous Rage

I'm going to close this scene. Anyone else who wants to start a new scene is welcome to.

9/7/2012 #8
Jealous Rage

All right, I'm going to start a new scene. Anyone can join in, but make sure you read the first post beforehand.

2/25/2013 #9
Jealous Rage

At first, I wasn't sure what woke me up. I didn't snap into wakefulness, like those dumbasses in the movies do. I just sort of slowly came to. I was disoriented as fuck for a moment, 'cause the surface under me was hard, and sunlight was shining directly in my eyes. I'd taped a couple garbage bags over the window in my room years ago. Fucking sun.

As I drifted a little closer to being fully awake, I realised I was lying on my living room floor. I must have passed out on the couch and slipped off sometime during the night. "Oh, fuck!" When I sat up, the room began to spin. I rubbed at my aching temples with both hands, which wasn't easy, considering I was trying to block the light at the same fucking time. The empty whiskey bottle on my lap fell onto the floor with a dull thud when I moved and slowly rolled over toward the TV cabinet.

Slowly I clambered to my feet, using the couch to get me most of the way up. My back hurt like a motherfucker—fucking floor—and the pounding in my head refused to go the fuck away. It was only once I'd made it up and taken a minute to stretch and try to get my bearings that I realised not all the pounding was coming from inside my fucking skull. Somebody was knocking on the door.

"Hold on!" I tried to shout, but my voice came out sounding more like a dying goat than anything else. "Fuck. I'm coming!" The pounding didn't stop as I shuffled over to the door, mumbling to myself about stupid fucking assholes who woke you up at... whatever the fuck time of day it was. I really needed to spring for a fucking clock. "What the fuck do you want?" I said, as I threw the door open and glared at the asshole standing on the other side.

2/25/2013 #10
Jealous Rage

This scene is closed. Anybody can start the next one.

3/4/2013 #11
VelvetyCheerio

Abacus whimpered as he struggled into consciousness. His torso ached and the simple act of rolling on his back froze the breath in his stifled lungs. It was only when the headache that had been sleeping peacefully in the back of his skull woke up from the lack of oxygen that Abacus found himself able to breathe again. He sucked in air, but the animal in his head wasn't going back into its cage without a fight. He grit his teeth, a stabbing pain building behind his eyes. His hands curled into the ground and he ripped up dead grass in one hand.

The pain subsided after an agonizing minute and he relaxed. A cricket chirped somewhere close by and Abacus allowed himself to open his eyes. Star patterns hung above him and he breathed with some confidence. The stars hadn't changed, at least. But he certainly wasn't home. He turned his head from side to side as much as he dared. An open, dry field stretched to his right. There was more of the same on the left, broken only by the gray road that cut between the two fields. Abacus let that sink in.

With a cry, he rolled himself off the road and into the grass, even though the stiff brush bit into his arms and face and stomach. More pain flooded his body and the vengeful animal in his skull threatened to turn his brain into soup. Abacus passed out again.

4/13/2013 #12
Jealous Rage

It was late, maybe two in the morning. The moon was high in the sky and the stars were out in full force. I know that, because I saw them when they opened the back doors of the limo and tossed my dumb ass out. They didn't even slow down, the assholes. I tried to tuck and roll, but the road was rough and it hurt like Hell as I half-rolled/half-tumbled along it. The limo was gone before I could even think about standing up.

I took a moment to collect myself once I came to a stop, lying face down on the gritty road. I knew instantly nothing was broken, but my arms were burning. Road rash. A pebble had dragged across my forehead, and I could feel the warm blood streaming down into my eyes. Kind of burned, but I was used to it. I get cut far too often. With a grunt, I pushed myself up and climbed to my feet. As I waited for the dull ache encompassing my entire body to fade a bit, I took the opportunity to study my surroundings. I was standing on a dirt road, obviously, and all around me was field. Empty field. That was it. That was my surroundings.

"Oh, Jesus fucking Christ," I muttered, shaking my head. "Really? You pricks couldn't just drop me in an alley somewhere? You had to drive me out into the middle of fucking nowhere? Fucking dicks." I made myself a promise then: if it killed me, I was going to haul my ass back to the casino and burn that motherfucker to the ground.

Before I could go off on a mental tangent, imaging all the wonderfully terrible shit I was going to do when I got back to the city, I heard a moan of pain. It was so low, I almost didn't catch it. A regular human wouldn't have heard it. It was coming from a little ways down the road, and to my right. My night vision isn't great, so it was a bit of a pain in the ass, but after a moment, I found a spot on the side of the road where the grass had been disturbed. Slowly, I approached the spot, pausing just at the edge of the road. There was a body lying there, mostly obscured by the tall grass.

"What the fuck?"

4/14/2013 #13
VelvetyCheerio

Abacus swayed back into consciousness, not sure when he had passed out or for how long; not sure if he had just heard another voice. His headache was gone. The only thing that remained was the dull ache in his ribs and a tenderness originating somewhere near his eye. A not so gentle nudge to his side drew a cry from his lips.

"Oh, so I guess you're not dead," a voice above him said.

Abacus pushed himself to his hands and knees, casting a wary glare at the man who had found him. The guy didn't look any better than Abacus felt. Blood stained his forehead and streaked into his eyes. Abacus tried to get up, but his muscles felt heavy and uncoordinated. Sluggish memory remembered panic and the smell of something sweet and his legs grew even weaker at the thought. Had he been drugged?

"You don't look too good, kid," the man said.

He grabbed Abacus by the arm and hauled him to shaking knees. The helpful gesture proved disastrous. Abacus's stomach lurched and he gagged.

"Oh, shit."

4/15/2013 #14
Jealous Rage

As soon as I heard the kid gag, I stepped back. "Woah, woah, watch the shoes!" Walking around in puke-scented shoes was not high on my list of things I wanted to do. As I looked on from a splash-safe distance, the kid proceeded to choke up his lunch all over the ground. Or dinner, whatever. That went on entirely too long, but eventually, his belly ran empty and he rolled over onto his side, away from the vomit.

"That was..." I searched for the proper word. "Something. You gonna live, kid?" I stepped around him, away from the reeking puke, and stared down at him. His eyes were closed, and he was breathing heavily. Sweat was beading all over his forehead, and from the way he was shivering, I figured he was either sick as Hell, or somebody had drugged and/or poisoned the poor bastard. "Come on, get up. Lying there isn't gonna do shit." From the looks of things, I had the kid by a good seven inches and about a hundred and fifty pounds, so it wasn't hard to reach down and drag him to his feet. "Steady on there, buddy."

To the kid's credit, he was together enough to keep his legs under him. He was wobbly as fuck for a moment, but steady enough to keep from pitching head-first back to the ground. "Thanks," he muttered, without looking at me.

"Sure," I replied. I stuck close, just in case his legs gave out. As funny as it would have been if he took a header into the ditch, I was feeling charitable. The kid looked like death warmed over, and I may be a bastard, but I'm not that much of a bastard. "What's your name, kid?"

4/16/2013 #15
VelvetyCheerio

Instead of answering the question, Abacus took in a steadying breath and let it out slowly, hoping to soothe the tremors going down his spine. Throwing up had made him feel slightly better, but not by much. He spit sour bile over his shoulder and faced his somewhat guardian again. Though, by the looks of it, the guy probably could have been someone's bodyguard. He was intimidating enough, at least.

He cleared his throat and said, "I'm Abacus."

The man stared at him. "What the fuck kind of name is that?"

"What do you mean what kind of - it's my name! What's your name?" Abacus shot back, not sure if he should be challenging someone who could probably kill him with a single punch.

4/18/2013 #16
Jealous Rage

Mouthy little prick. For a second, I contemplated knocking his teeth out. But I was sore, a little pissed off, and not really looking to get in anymore fights that night. "Rick," I replied. "My name is Rick. Nice, normal name." I lapsed into silence then, not really sure what to say. The kid wasn't talking, and I didn't have anything I needed to tell him. "So," I finally said, just to inject a little life into the silence. "What the fuck happened to you? How'd you end up..." I looked around at all the fucking nothing that surrounded us. "In the middle of fucking nowhere?"

4/19/2013 #17
VelvetyCheerio

Even though Abacus wanted to comment on how Rick certainly was not a normal name, at least not to him, he was glad to get off the subject. Besides, if Rick was asking where they were, it probably meant he was in the same boat as Abacus, and that made Abacus feel slightly better.

"I don't really know," he said, also surveying the empty landscape. The bleak, grey road seemed to stretch endlessly from east to west. Or maybe it was north to south? Abacus frowned and stared at the grass. Most of it was bent out of shape from where he had dragged himself across it, but the few that remained intact leaned west; toward the last direction they had felt the sun's rays, and toward civilization.

"The last I remember was falling asleep in the tiger's cage and then someone came in and put a rag over my face and... and then I was here."

"Huh," was all Rick said.

"Anyway, I think we should follow the road in this direction." He pointed west. "We'll hit a city eventually, and it's a lot better than just standing here waiting to die."

Rick snorted. "If you say so. Lead the way, kid."

Abacus nodded. His muscles resisted at first and he stumbled for a couple of steps, but he slowly got control over his body. Once he got his breathing steady, he said: "How'd you end up here? And what happened to your forehead?"

4/21/2013 #18
lookingwest

I know I should run, so I run. The road is long and I slip in the gravel, almost reeling into the ditch. I glance over my shoulder, my heartbeat screaming in my ears. I can't see what I'm running from and I don't know why I'm running. I just knows I've got to run.

The long grasses in the ditch sway in the slight wind, and I look across a great emptiness that shakes me scared to the bone. My arms and legs are sore, the night pressing in on me, the road casting darkened shadows under the light of a waning moon. I slow, breathing hard, saliva thick in my mouth. I can't run anymore, I've got nothing in me. I feel like I'll go sick from the anxiety clawing up my ribcage, damp with sweat underneath my black T-shirt. I spit, leaning and propping on my knees, my breathing labored.

"Wren," I say. "Where'd," I gulp, "I drop?" I look up at the night sky, the stars splattered like chipping white paint, my mouth hanging open as I pant.

"...what happened to your forehead?"

I look towards the ditch and two shadows emerge. My heart leaps. I back-peddle across the gravel, my black boots slipping on the road rivets. I flick my wrist to conjure - but nothing happens. Panic grips.

"Wren!" I shout, keeping my stare on the shadows.

Something's gone wrong.

I've glitched.

4/22/2013 . Edited 4/25/2013 #19
Jealous Rage

"How'd I end up here? I was thrown out of a moving limo. What happened to my forehead? I was thrown out of a moving limo." The gash on my head had stopped bleeding, but I could feel the dried blood crusting to my skin. More than anything, I wanted to reach up and scratch that uncomfortable shit off, but I knew that was a bad idea. It would just start gushing again, and I much preferred to keep my blood on the inside. "Fuck, I need a smoke." I reached into my pocket and gave silent thanks to whomever was listening that my cigarettes hadn't been crushed to shit by my collision with the road. My Zippo was good too. "Ah, shit, that's good."

Abacus opened his mouth then, but before he could say a word, I heard a voice coming from somewhere up ahead of us. I held up my hand to stop him, and peered into the darkness. My night vision isn't great, but I could just pick out the outline of somebody standing in the middle of the road. They're staring right at us.

"Wren!"

"What the fuck?" I mutter to myself. "Three people on the same abandoned stretch of road in the middle of the night? What are the fucking odds?" Abacus didn't respond. He was too busy making his way toward the newcomer. "Fuck." I utilized my long legs to catch up with him, just as he reached the stranger.

4/24/2013 . Edited 4/24/2013 #20
Dr. Self Destruct

Another day, another fucking drive. But at least I was finally getting out of Florida, swamp ass capital of the country. I wonder if there's demons in California. Guess I'll find out soon.

Driving down the road in the middle of the night, with nothing to keep me company but Ozzy Osborne screaming "Crazy Train" through my Honda's speakers. Drumming my hands on the steering wheel, banging my head and singing in an off-key tone. There's no one else on this stretch of road this time of night -- I think Kristoph called it Death Valley? pretty fitting name, I guess -- so I'm barreling down the highway at about 80 mph. I'd go faster if my car could handle it, but it's already rattling so loud I can hardly hear my music. The silhouettes of sand dunes fly past on either side, and the occasional gust of wind knocks my light-weight car back and forth across the two lanes--

A shadow in the road.

No, two.

People.

Fuck!

I crank the wheel and hit the brakes.

Screeching tires. Burned rubber.

I veer off the road and ramp a sand dune, overturning my car.

4/24/2013 #21
lookingwest

One of the shadows approaches and I can make out the outline of a young man.

I search my pockets for any sort of weapon, but I've gone none. The last thing I remember is hooking up to the deck. I can't even remember my load screen. "Jodar, who are you?" I say, backing from the shadow. I can hardly see in this dark. I look up at the sky, as if Wren might suddenly prompt and get me the fuck out of here. But this wasn't like the last time, not with Pyramus. I'm dressed flipside. These people are seeing the real me. Flipside me, poor unwashed clothes and my unstyled mohawk the color of river sand. I thought maybe I'd glitched into one of my load screens with this landscape, but the desert isn't Nebraska.

"Hey, where'd you come from?" says the shadow. Up close he looks young, maybe a teenager, like Ray's kid-brother. And sick. Like he just threw up.

"This your gamescape, gilipollas? You working for someone? Fucking the servers up, yeah?" I'm anxious. Bugging out. What if Ray fried my deck? I'd screw him up, that's what. I try to stay calm, take deep breaths, but then it starts: the shaking, flipside addiction.

The kid looks confused, but then his eyes go wide. "What is that?" he says.

Then I hear it, this clash of noise, roaring noise like the city monorails, like Ray's roller. I turn and gasp a breath of panic, reeling in front of the kid to push us out of the way. We narrowly miss it, I can feel the wind pushing against my chest.

The roller ramps and overturns and I feel my mouth slacken. "Shit, man," I say, "that's like 300 extra points in Crazy Taxi."

4/24/2013 #22
VelvetyCheerio

The vehicle crashed top end first into the sand and dirt, beads of glass spraying out from underneath it. For a minute, it looked like it would flip right back on to its smoking, spinning wheels, but it fell back to earth with a metallic groan instead. The stench of gasoline and burned rubber tainted the air, and Abacus wiped tears from his eyes to gape at the wreck. His heart pounded in his ears for how close he had come to being a smear underneath the rumbling metal contraption.

The strange man with the bad haircut jumped to his feet, frantic and shaking and saying words that Abacus couldn't hear. He started to ask what was wrong when Rick grabbed him by the arm and hauled him to his feet. A bout of dizziness replaced shock and he clung for dear life against Rick's shoulder until the landscape stopped swaying.

"What is that thing?" he said when he could breathe evenly again. He pointed at the crashed vehicle. "Rick, what is that thing?"

4/25/2013 #23
Jealous Rage

When the car came to a smoking stop right near us, I was about ready to pack it the fuck in. I still had a headache from my unexpected trip across the gravel, my knee hurt like a bitch, and the sudden smell of gas just hit me like a wave. For a brief second, I considered just waving goodbye and leaving all this shit in the dust. But the kid was scared as shit, and my own curiosity got the better of me.

"A car," I replied, eyes staying focused on the wreck. I didn't bother asking myself why the kid didn't know what a car was. He was a weird dude. That was just one more piece of the puzzle. "I guess we should probably help, huh?" I looked over to mohawk dude—he seemed a little twitchy, but he knew what a car was, so it was fucking start. He nodded, gaze glued to the car, but didn't step forward. "All right then." Slowly, I approached the wreckage. There were no fires burning, thank fuck. Last thing I needed was for the goddamn thing to explode in my face. The smell grew worse the closer I stepped, but I gritted my teeth and pushed through.

There hadn't been time to see who all was in the car, so I made my way around to the driver's side. The door was crumpled a bit from the impact, but still intact. As I drew closer, it shuddered slightly. A second later, it did it again. "Ah, shit," I said. "Hold on. I got you." I tried the handle, but the door didn't budge. "Fuck!" I brace myself against the top of the car—which was actually the bottom, since it was upside down—and tried to force the door open. It resisted for a second, before slowly opening with a loud screech. "Fucking fuck! Goddamn it." Fucking loud noises, man. Once the door was open wide, I bent down and peered inside. "You all right in there?"

4/25/2013 #24
lookingwest

I watch a man emerge from the ditch. "A car," he says.

The kid shakes his head and looks as lost as I feel.

I look over my shoulder, remembering whatever was chasing me. I think I see something in the shadows, edging the long road. My itching anxiety crawls, and I miss what the man says. It's hard to make him out in the dark, and he looks like he's waiting for something. I just nod and stare at the broken roller, unsure if there would be anything inside but a construct ghost, a monster that might jumpstart the game.

This was playing out like a bad cut scene.

"All right then," the man says, and I watch him draw across the road and into the chewed ditch.

The kid and I watch the man approach the wreckage, and I cross my arms tight against my chest, trying to stop a fresh tremor of flipside withdrawal. I've never felt them in the game. "This glitch-shit VR is fucked up," I tell the kid. "You on high immersion?"

"What?" the kid says, he looks at me like I'm the crazy one.

We watch the man wedge open the driver door, it makes a loud scream of noise and I wince. "Fucking fuck!" I hear the man curse before he peers inside.

Nothing attacks him.

I loosen up and slide my look towards the kid. "So what's your name? Who's that guy, Rick, you said? He in your guild?"

4/25/2013 . Edited 4/25/2013 #25
Dr. Self Destruct

Blood in my eyes. That's all I see. An iron taste on my tongue, in my throat, like I sucked a mouthful of dirty pennies. Groaning, I roll my head onto my shoulder, then realize I'm hanging upside down. Awareness seeps into me, slowly, picture by picture. I remember a road, driving in the middle of the night...people standing in the road.

Oh, and a car accident.

Motherfucker.

I fumble for my seat belt. As soon as I undo it, I realize my mistake. My head crashes into the cockpit's ceiling, and I fold over in an extremely uncomfortable position, knees up around my chin, arms fumbling to put me in a sitting position. The door next to me moves, grinds, and pops open. Another bloody face peeks in at me from outside.

"You all right in there?" the man says.

"Fucking peachy," I say, and he half-helps, half-drags me out of the car.

He helps me up, and I wobble, grab the car to steady myself. A flare of anger boils inside my stomach, because I should've been able to stop in time. Shouldn't have had to run off the road to avoid manslaughter. My Honda's shitty fucking brakes -- knew I should've replaced them before I decided to take a road-trip across the fucking country.

I kick my car's hood, now half-buried in the sand, then grab my foot and shout: "Motherfucker!"

The guy who helped me out of the car crosses his arms over his chest and gives me a hard look.

"Thanks for the help, man," I say. "I'm Eric."

I offer him a hand, but he doesn't shake it.

"Rick," he says.

I glance over my shoulder at the two other people still standing in the road, debating on bitching them out for...well, standing in the middle of the fucking road. But then a thought occurs to me: maybe it was deliberate. Maybe they do this every night, forcing people to wreck their cars so they can mug them and kill them and rape them -- in that order.

"What the fuck you guys doing out here?" I say. "Looking for UFOs?"

4/25/2013 #26
VelvetyCheerio

Abacus tore his eyes away from the wrecked vehicle - car, Rick said - and took the odd talking stranger in finally. He didn't look much older than Abacus, but his eyes didn't look right. They looked hungry, desperately craving for something. Abacus didn't like that. He wanted to put Rick between himself and this guy with the bad haircut. He swallowed and took a tiny step back.

But he can't be all trouble, he thought. He did save me, after all.

"I'm, uh, I'm Abacus," he said. "I don't really know all that much about Rick, or what a guild is. Are you okay?"

He lurched forward as the stranger bent double from a violent tremor and caught his upper arm. This guy wasn't well. What if he had been drugged too? He had seen some slave markets before where the women were too strung out on opiates to run away. What if that's what was wrong with him?

"Rick! This guy..." The shout died in his mouth when he looked back toward the flipped car and saw Rick standing across from another figure.

4/25/2013 #27
lookingwest

I think I see her. Standing near those men.

"I'm, uh, I'm Abacus," says the kid.

Her back to me, her hair blackened with blood. She looks like she's about to turn and it rocks into me, bad, it shocks. I feel like I might go sick and don't hear the rest of what Abacus says. I bend double, shakes spilling into me. Looking over my shoulder - I feel it again, whatever was chasing me, moving in the dark, just outside my vision. I flick my wrist, hoping for fire, for anything, for my skeleton hound - but nothing comes. When I look back towards the wreckage, she's gone.

"Rick! This guy..."

"I'm cool!" I glare. I close my eyes. "Wren," I mumble, trying for the last time. She doesn't answer, and so I take a few deep breaths, try to calm myself. If there's anything out there in the dark - at least I'm not alone. None of these men were Magpie or Pyramus, but they'd have to do. I steady, and my shaking settles enough for me to manage. I can't fuck anything up the way I am. Dune rat. Not even my empty S&W with me. If this was Ray's doing, I'd kill him for this.

I hope one of these men can access their gear panels, and watch Rick and the roller-wreck man approach the road.

4/25/2013 #28
Jealous Rage

Eric was breathing pretty heavily, and the blood from a gash on his head was dripping down his face. I was surprised he was standing under his own power, honestly. "Just out for a midnight stroll," I replied. "We're all best friends. Ever seen the Wizard of Oz?" He grunted and I took it for a yes. "Just like that. We skip along, merrily as fuck, holding hands and all that good shit. It is—and I'm being honest here—the greatest thing in the fucking world."

He made a noise that might have been laughter. "Which one are you?"

"You fucking blind?" I cocked an eyebrow. "I'm Dorothy, man. Come on, look at me. I'm clearly the prettiest." There were two things wrong with that. One, I was a three hundred pound man who in no way resembled a teenage girl. And two, with my scars—and just my general shitty looks—'pretty' is only applicable to me when somebody calls me pretty ugly. But whatever. I thought it was funny. Eric apparently disagreed, though that might have been because laughing appeared to hurt him a lot. "Can you walk?"

"I think so," he said. I watched as he pushed away from the support of the car and wobbled a bit. He took a few shaky steps, and despite his injuries, managed to stay up. "I'm good."

I fell into step beside him as he limped towards the road. It was quiet, mostly because I had nothing good to say. I'm at my best when I can play off somebody. When the best somebody's giving me is laboured breathing, I've got nothing. So silence it was. As we approached the others, it was immediately apparent something had freaked out Abacus again. "Shit. What's going on now?"

4/25/2013 #29
Dr. Self Destruct

The Wizard of Oz, huh? I sure wish Rick would stop making me laugh, because I'm always one to appreciate a good joke, even if appreciating the good joke feels like it's sending shards of glass through my bloodstream. Not to mention the Dorothy comment -- yeah, maybe if Dorothy had a sex-change and went to jail for ten years, making it a habit of dropping the soap as much as possible. Okay, maybe I'm being a little harsh. Rick isn't that ugly. In fact, I notice this weird ghost smile behind his stern mouth when he's being sarcastic, and it's sorta endearing. Still a face only a mother can love, though.

I guess I have no room to talk. I'm not exactly beautiful either. My face being covered in blood is somewhat of an improvement over the acne and sunken eyes. My messy blond hair that looks more like a mop. Lack of facial hair, so, depending on the person looking at me, I look either ten years older or ten years younger than I really am. At least I got a soul patch, though. Very proud of my soul patch, so fuck off.

I finger my soul patch to make sure it wasn't singed or cut off during the accident. When we reach the road and the other two guys, I give them weird looks. One's wearing funny clothes, and the other guy's hair looks a bit like Skrillex.

"Let me guess," I say, looking at what I'm guessing is the younger of the two, "you're Toto?" Then I turn to the other guy and say, "And you must be...wait, wait...Scarecrow!" I snap my fingers.

They both just stare at me, and I can tell they've never seen The Wizard of Oz before. I glance at Rick, hoping he'll help me out, because who the fuck has never seen The Wizard of Oz?

Wait. If this is The Wizard of Oz, then who am I? Oooooh, man. I hope they let me be the Tinman. He has an ax.

Before I can open my mouth to suggest this, I hear something from behind me. This creepy noise of a dead body being dragged across gravel -- or asphalt. Followed by a low growl. So low I don't know if I really heard it. I spin around and look back at the dark highway, the shadows now pressing in on all sides. I spin the cog in my brain, trying to peek a few minutes into the future, thinking maybe I'll see whatever it is in a premonition. But I think the car accident caused too much head trauma. All I end up doing is sending a shock of pain between my ears, and I grab the side of my face, hissing in annoyance.

"I think there's something out there," I say, hand now resting on the handle of the pistol holstered in my belt. "Do you guys hear that?"

4/26/2013 #30
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